In 1981, President Ronald Reagan brought into effect a new law Omnibus Reconciliation Act ending state mental health care. This act allowed mental patients to seek care at new community clinics and administer their own medication. The new funding was largely misused and those with serious mental conditions went untreated and went from facilities onto the streets. Over the years, more policies were enacted giving mentally ill patients more personal rights but less and less support.
Born the same year that the Omnibus Reconciliation Act ended state mental health care, Jessica Joy's story shows the human cost of policy changes over the past four decades. Born to teen sweethearts fighting their own mental health battles, Jessica's untreated trauma and neglect as a child plus the propensity toward having inherited mental health issues, led her on a lifelong spiral that ended with her being homeless twice with her son August. Jessica is a rare success story. Through extraordinary resilience and grit, she launched her business while living in the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission where she was once a guest. She now sits on the board of that establishment has has received many accolades for her work. Jessica gives back to her community by mentoring young women and advocating on behalf of families experiencing homelessness. Brutally honest and open, Jessica's story is a microcosm of the homeless epidemic macrocosm that the United States is currently facing.
Americans experiencing homelessness as of 2018.
Allocated to homeless housing in Los Angeles averaging $527k to $700k per unit.
Support groups in Tokyo for 5,000 homeless people in a city of 7.13 million.
Homeless people per capita in San Francisco compared to London.
Annual cases of the medieval disease typhus in Los Angeles' homeless population due to unsanitary conditions.
Acts of violence towards others or themselves required before California requires non-voluntary mental health care.
Homeless people per capita in Eugene, Oregon, a higher rate than New Delhi, India.
Rate of homeownership in Singapore, thanks to a successful public housing scheme, resulting in one of the lowest homeless rates in the world.
Homeless veterans in the United States, as of 2019.