Every addict is a lost son or daughter, brother or sister, sometimes a parent. As Michael points out, what we do to the weakest and most vulnerable in our pursuit of our own happiness is despicable.

Now, I still don't respond to panhandlers, because that's not truly caring for them - it is, as the example in this article points out, simply feeding their destructive behaviors.

But I can and do support sober-living rehab programs - Fr. Joe's Village in San Diego, Brother Benno's in Oceanside, Solutions for Change in Vista. All work with these troubled souls to help them find a path to sobriety so they can have the personal foundation they need to rebuild their lives.

I will pray for Jacqui and Corey tonight, and the next time I am offput by the appearance of a homeless person, I will work that much harder to see my brother or sister beneath that exterior. Because it is shameful how I too often react.

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In CALIFORNIA, exploitation, hunger, abuse, neglect is the norm for people with a severe mental illness if they are dependent upon the public health system. There is no right to known medical benefits for those insured by Medicaid and awarded SSI support. It's the law.

Stupid, huh! California's health system will diagnose uninsured adults appearing to have a severe mental illness. If found to be gravely disabled by brain disorders such as Bipolar or Schizophrenia, they will be entitled to MediCal health coverage and financial benefits. They will not be entitled to "medically necessary treatment" for the severe, disabling illness. It's the law.

The state assigns the treatment plan to counties, but state "realignment" funding for mental health systems is not based upon caseload demands or treatment standards. Unlike other social services shifted to counties, state funding for mental illness systems is not related to need.

Why do we have a public health plan that excludes essential, effective treatment for serious mental illnesses. Stupid huh? The Governor and the Guru don't know? Don't have an answer? Voters fund treatment at every opportunity. Rose King, widow, mother, grandmother, auntie of individuals with a disabling brain disorder.

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