Public policy in the problem areas of homelessness and mental illness has been reactive, rather than proactive, for the past thirty to forty years. As a result of this approach, federal and state policies have swung, like a pendulum, from one extreme to the other, taking the homeless mentally ill population on a most difficult ride. Public policies concerning these issues must become proactive, even if it means a complete overhauling of federal and state social service systems. Only with proactive policies will mentally ill individuals, and all people, have the housing, food, and health care they need, and the dignity to which they are entitled.



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