Butte County Behavioral Health director describes process by which more homeless are attracted to Chico to provide salaries for public workers

5 Nov

I attended the Local Government Committee yesterday afternoon, and after listening to the Butte County Behavioral Health Director Dorian Kittrell talk about his departments’ efforts to administer to the homeless, I’m depressed.

I wanted to get to the bottom of this discrepancy between what I’m hearing from Chico PD about their spending hours at Enloe with “street people” and what I have been hearing from Kittrell about all the staffing and programs the county offers to administer to the same people. 

According to County Administrative Officer Paul Hahn, over half our county resources – employees and budget – go to programs to administer to the homeless and poor. 

This item was agendized by Chico council member Reanette Fillmer, who said “people” don’t think the city is doing enough to administer to the homeless, and she wanted to hear what the other various agencies were doing. 

Here’s what they’re doing – they’re bringing homeless people to Chico every day, providing millions and millions of dollars in housing and “programs” to facilitate their dysfunction. Some of these programs, according to Kittrell, are intended to house these people only for a couple of days, get these people cleaned up, sometimes “back on their meds,” and then back out into the community to go back to being a problem.  He even mentioned one program for which patients are being brought in from outside the county to fill the beds.He acted as though that was great! Yeah, it means more money for him and the rest of the hogs. 

Kittrell is even trying to enlist private landlords to house these people. This, he answered Reanette Fillmer, is “the gap” in local homeless services, we aren’t providing enough housing for these people. Even after he listed the various types of transitional, temporary, and “emergency” housing the county and other agencies offer, and the millions that go into these programs. 

You know what that means – instead of having to get a use permit and deal with public hearings, they just sneak what amounts to a group home into your neighborhood without having to even tell anybody. This is the kind of thing that makes neighbors hostile toward landlords and rentals. 

Kittrell says they actually spend about $2 million a year on employees who are supposed to be contacting local landlords, asking for housing for these people, openly described as having “mental problems” and even substance abuse problems.  Not just housing, he says, but people who care enough to babysit their tenants, make sure they pay their rent on time, mow their lawn, and take their meds. 

Excuse me for saying this, but that’s nuts.  They spend millions on buildings that only house 9, or 11, or 16 people at a time, millions more on staff to run these programs, and then turn to the public and tell us, we need to be our brother’s keeper.  We’re all qualified to provide care for mentally ill people? But Kittrell gets a package worth over $200,000? 

Kittrell and others tried to tell us, 80 percent of our “homeless population come from Chico.” What does that mean in a transplant town like this? Where do their parents live? That’s where “they come from”. Where was the last place they served time? That’s where “they come from.” For every one of these people who was born in Butte County, I’ll show you somebody that followed the Grateful Dead out here, or came here because we have a college campus, or came here because we have “good” social programs. 

What does “local” or “townie” even mean around here anymore? Nothing. Kittrell lives in Yuba City, his last job was in Sacramento. What we’re talking about, are the two kinds of people that take advantage. The first kind are creeps who have learned to live a life that doesn’t have any  rules or boundaries, just blend in with the local scene and don’t get caught red-handed. If you do get caught, your crazy, and that includes your drug problem, and you must be taken care of like a new baby.  

The other kind of take advantage types are the public workers who make a very sweet lifestyle out of administering to these creeps.  The first kind might break into your car, or sell drugs to the kids at the high school, but the second kind gets into your purse, into your bank account, attaches themselves to your property taxes.

It’s like being eaten alive from both ends.

At one point Kittrell said he wants to get to people “before they are in crisis.” Well, I’ll say, Kittrell and these others are creating crisis in our community. They’re ripping us off of money we need to pay our bills, send our kids to school, money we could  be spreading more around this community. While our streets and other public facilities are in ruin, these people manage to get a bigger budget every year, telling us they’re looking out for our interests. They’re just feathering their own nests.

Here’s why they don’t go into the park, or “under the bridges”, as Kittrell says – they’ve cut the funding for that kind of outreach in favor of paying $100,000 + salaries and $25,000 + compensation packages. They don’t have enough money for outreach workers – one man blamed it on Arnold Swarzenegger. No, it’s mismanagement. It’s managers eating all the money for themselves and leaving nothing to hire people who actually work “hands-on” with the patients. 

Why are Chico  PD spending so much time at Enloe with “street people”? Because even with all these agencies and staff who are supposed to be equipped to deal with the mentally ill, I was told, law enforcement can’t tell when a person is drunk or on drugs or has schizophrenia, so they have to take them to Enloe ER to be evaluated. Kittrell insisted that Butte County BH has plenty of staff to take these people, but I’m still told that a police officer has to be present. I’m just not getting it.

What I am getting, is that with these people in charge, we will soon be living in the most expensive mental hospital north of San Francisco. 

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3 Responses to “Butte County Behavioral Health director describes process by which more homeless are attracted to Chico to provide salaries for public workers”

  1. Steve November 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Very well done. You hit the nail on the head.

    • Juanita Sumner November 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      Thanks Steve, it’s good to know other people are paying attention to this very complex issue.

  2. chicoc3 November 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Well done. Thanks

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