Cities throughout California struggle to address issues surrounding individuals experiencing homelessness. Lake Forest was a leader in South Orange County with the creation of the first full -time Homeless Liaison Deputy. The deputy worked to get to know homeless individuals to gain their trust until they entered a treatment or housing program.
Now, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has launched a new, innovative approach: the Behavioral Health Bureau (BHB).
The BHB works collaboratively with the county’s Health Care Agency, mental health professionals, and community stakeholders to develop and utilize innovative methods to reduce recidivism and increase crisis intervention services for the residents of Orange County. The BHB also trains all members of the department in the OCSD Crisis Intervention Training program. Homelessness is just one issue the new team addresses -- the specially trained teams will also be dispatched to other mental-health calls.
The bureau stands upon three foundational pillars, Critical Incident Training, Mental Health Response, and Integrated Services.
Residents are invited to attend a Stay Safe Lake Forest Town Hall meeting at 6 p.m. on July 13 at the Lake Forest Performing Arts Center to hear OCSD Captain Nathan Wilson explain how the BHB works. Residents can also ask questions. The Performing Arts Center is at the Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Dr.
The Stay Safe Lake Forest Town Hall will also be broadcast on Lake Forest TV, Cox Channel 851 in the City.