A liberal mental health advocate lauded efforts by President Donald Trump to address the crisis of homelessness saying Democrats often get in the way of meaningful solutions.
DJ Jaffe, the executive director of Mental Illness Policy Org told “Fox & Friends” that Trump’s approach to dealing with the issue of homelessness is effective because he has “identified the need to help the most seriously ill” and is putting forth solutions.
(Video: Fox News)
“It is not compassionate to let people wallow in their psychosis, go homeless and eat out of dumpsters,” he said.
Jaffe felt it was “very gracious” of the president to invite him to the mental health summit held at the White House on Thursday, despite the fact that he is a liberal. He noted that his political views, however, have moved away from Democrats on the mental health and homelessness issues because “Republicans are sometimes doing better things for the most seriously ill than my fellow liberals.”
“My fellow liberals tend to divert mental health funds to social ills like unemployment, divorce, angst about gender identity, poverty,” he explained. “But that’s not what’s helping the most seriously mentally ill.”
Jaffe noted that the federal government currently runs programs that do not help the mentally ill at all and, in some cases, are “seriously harming” them. He pointed out examples of Trump’s plans that have addressed the heart of the issue and will make a difference in the lives of the people who have not had the help from Democrats.
Trump spoke to health officials and lawmakers at the summit held at the White House this week about how to combat homelessness, violence, and substance abuse, calling for addressing the source of the problems.
(Video: Fox 10 Phoenix)
“Of the 11 million Americans living with severe mental illness, 4 million receive no mental health service of any kind. Four million people,” Trump said at the event, noting that there are over 100,000 homeless individuals.
“You know, when I was growing up in Queens, in New York, we had a number of mental institutions. And I’d look and I’d see these big buildings. And all of a sudden, you go and you don’t see them anymore. And you say, “What happened to all of those beds? What happened to all of that work? And where are those people?” And in many cases, those people are living on the streets. It’s much different,” he continued.
“And somebody made the decision a long time ago and they did it for budgetary reasons, but we have to take care of our mentally ill. We have to help people that are having problems,” Trump added.
He told the gathered group that his administration would be focusing on early detection of mental health problems, while helping to decrease drug use, and deal with street violence, noting “an increase of $328 million” in the week’s funding bill which provides $3.9 billion for mental health programs.
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