The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to request $125 million from a statewide program to help San Diegans who are homeless and have serious mental illness.
If approved, the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) would receive the funds over the next four years for housing developments that would make room for about 1,100 people.
“If we can get and keep the most vulnerable people in stable housing, we will see improvements in physical wellness and in behavioral health,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of HHSA’s Behavioral Health Services.
The multi-million-dollar request would allow a few dozen projects that would create up to 600 permanent supportive units, which the county anticipates may start becoming available within three to eight years.
The state program, No Place Like Home, would fund the county’s request. It was approved by California voters in November 2018.
No Place Like Home provides funding to develop permanent supportive housing for people in need, according to the county. Its funds can be used on acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction, and preservation of these units.
The supportive housing plans are typically integrated into a larger affordable housing development. It would be the residents “first steps” toward stability and recovery, according to the county.
HHSA would provide services for the residents in these homes, including medications, intensive case management, and assertive community treatment, the county said.
Aguirre called the collaboration between the state program and HHSA “essential to ensure that residents are successful in attaining and sustaining housing while supporting their wellness and achieving their recovery goals.”
HHSA’s Behavioral Health Services has more than 1,300 partnership units that provide dedicated supportive housing for people with serious mental illness or those with substance abuse issues.
The county will hire 15 people to administer the project.