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This report assesses the effectiveness of California's recent Program for the Homeless Mentally Disabled, determines the accountability of its funds, and describes the demographic and mental disorder characteristics of those it serves. Data are based on surveys of the homeless and interviews with and case studies obtained from county officials and service providers. The findings suggest that two-thirds of the homeless mentally disabled also have histories of substance abuse; counties allocate most funds for shelter and outreach and otherwise rely heavily on existing services; and the program is best at providing basic necessities and worst at moving the homeless mentally disabled into benefits and mental health programs and long-term housing. The authors identify significant gaps in service to homeless who are dually diagnosed, or hard to reach, and suggest measures that California counties can implement immediately with fairly modest addition or reallocation of funds to make existing programs more effective.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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