News Article Details

County awarded $17M grant for housing, mental health programs

Lodi News-Sentinel - 1/26/2018

Jan. 26--The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission awarded $17 million to San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services to fund two programs addressing affordable housing and access to mental health services, according to Tony Vartan, SJCBHS director.

"We've been working on these plans for the last few years, and submitted them last year to be viewed today. We've done a lot of work with the community in order to research where their needs are and come up with creative solutions to meet those needs," Vartan said.

The first project, called "Progressive Housing," will spend $6 million over five years to provide housing to homeless individuals in need of treatment for mental illnesses or substance abuse problems, Vartan said. He explained that the project's goal is to open six facilities in the first three years to house people in four levels of recovery: Assessment, engagement in mental health services, recovery support and permanent housing.

"The focus of this project is to get individuals into housing situations where they can focus on their treatment. If they're homeless, they're not able to focus on recovery and treatment," Vartan said.

The second project, known as the "Assessment and Respite Center," aims to improve access to services for people with mental illnesses from unserved or underserved populations as well as those at a high risk of homelessness, Vartan said. The $11 million project will set up community medical clinics to place mental health and other medical services closer to the populations that need them the most, he explained. This program will also place patients into Progressive Housing, and, eventually, individual housing, Vartan added.

"This is a big win for San Joaquin County, as well as for Behavioral Health Services. We are really committed to increasing access to (mental health) services, reducing disparities in that access and ensuring that all of our consumers have a safe and stable place to live to support their recovery outcomes," Vartan said.

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(c)2018 the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.)

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