MHSA CalHFA Housing Program

Planning Updates:

The housing market and financing for housing projects has been deeply affected by the current economic crisis causing a slowdown in development of MHSA Supported Housing Projects. At this time, we are happy to announce the Lincoln Avenue Project; named Bennett Place was approved in July 2013.

California Mental Health Director’s Association (CMHDA) worked collaboratively with the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) and the state Department of Mental Health (DMH) to develop an MHSA Housing Program that fulfills our shared goal of developing a significant increase in long-term supportive housing for our communities. As a result of this unique partnership, CalHFA will administer the MSHA Housing Program on a statewide basis. Planning estimates will be transferred by DMH on behalf of the County to CalHFA. Counties will execute an Assignment Letter agreeing to the transfer of the funds on their behalf. CalHFA will hold the funds and invest the funds. The County may access the funds through submission and approval of an MHSA Housing Program Application. DMH and CalHFA have joint approval of all projects.

MHSA Housing Program applications are considered updates to a county’s Community Services and Supports (CSS) Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan. Housing Program Projects must be designed with the goal of establishing and/or strengthening partnerships that result in development of housing that reflects local priorities, and expands safe, affordable housing options for individuals with serious mental illness or youth with serious emotional disturbance and their families. Each supported housing project must have a Supportive Services Plan that describes the approach to providing ongoing supportive services to the occupants of the housing.

Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services have an established history of collaboration with key community partners in the development of supported housing since 1997 when Garvey House was established.  Discussions are ongoing with local partners to continuously investigate opportunities for funding and suitable properties for development into supported housing sites. This history of collaboration combined with stakeholder input, obtained during initial CSS Community Planning Process that addressed unmet housing need for all age groups, will be utilized in developing permanent supportive housing through the MHSA Housing Program.

Public review and comment of each proposed Project Overview and Supportive Services Plan is required prior to submission of the MHSA Housing application to DMH and CalHFA (posted in box above). No public hearing is required.

To complete a project, MHSA funds must be leveraged with other forms of financing (e.g. HUD). The total amount of the MHSA Housing planning estimate for Stanislaus County is $4.8 million. Three projects are currently being developed and are expected to result in submission of applications in 2010 and beyond.