California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday wrote that doctors should be able to prescribe housing like they are able to prescribe medication.
“Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics,” Newsom wrote in a Twitter post. “We need to start treating brain health like we do physical health. What’s more fundamental to a person’s well being than a roof over their head?”
Newsom then appeared to link the treatment of mental health to his state’s housing shortage.
“Physical health and brain health are inextricably linked. And our healthcare system has been designed to treat only one of those,” Newsom wrote. “Let’s be clear: Massive failures in our mental health system and disinvestment in our social safety net—exacerbated by widening income inequality and our housing shortage— has led us to where we are today: too many Californians left to live on our streets.”
California is experiencing a simultaneous housing shortage and homelessness crisis. Around 130,000 homeless people reside in California, almost half the homeless population in the U.S. 60,000 of those live in Los Angeles County, while 28,000 homeless live in the San Francisco Bay area.
In his state of the state address on Wednesday, Newsom devoted much of his time to advocating for more housing in California. Newsom called for exempting supportive housing from environmental regulations statewide.