Select Committee on Homelessness Hearing, The Road Home: Step Two Mental Health Systems Laura V. Otis-Miles, Ph.D., CPRP Vice President
Mental Health Systems • Mental Health Systems (MHS) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1978 to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities facing substance abuse and behavioral health challenges. • MHS’ programs are publicly funded and available to those who cannot afford privately paid services and would be otherwise unable to receive them. • MHS services include a broad range of prevention, early intervention, integrated treatment, diversion and vocational programs. MHS now operates more than 90 programs throughout California and Utah.
Mental Health Systems • The passage of California Proposition 63 in 2004, known as the Mental Health Services Act, enabled MHS to expand services by implementing a variety of new programs. • These programs include several Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) programs, supported employment services, and case management for transition age youth and older adults. • Other expansions include veterans and military services and permanent supportive housing for seriously mentally ill individuals in San Diego County.
Serving Veterans, Military, Reservists, National Guards and Their Families • Courage to Call is a Veteran-staffed, prevention and early intervention program providing a 24/7 Helpline @ 211, peer support, and outreach services to active and former military, their families and loved ones. • Information, referrals, and access to food, shelter, housing; rent and utility assistance; employment; family, legal, counseling services; VA and other benefits; and Veterans transition services. • Program is a collaborative partnership funded by San Diego County, Health and Human Services Agency / Mental Health Services, Mental Health Services Act.
Serving Homeless Veterans • Club Vet Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) provides supportive services designed and operated by Veterans, to promote economic self-sufficiency and meaningful employment. • Program offers a variety of vocational support and training services; job placement, tools, and clothing assistance; and case management for homeless Veterans seeking to re-enter the labor force. • Department of Labor’s HVRP, established in 1987, provides funding for Club Vet at its East San Diego County facility.
Housing Services – Women and Children • MHS’ housing services include residential treatment, temporary and transitional placement, and permanent supportive housing with ongoing case management. • Family Recovery Center provides residential treatment and transitional housing for substance abuse recovery and improved parenting skills for up to 90 women, with their infants and children through the age of 10, in North San Diego County. • Providence Place provides substance abuse treatment and housing to female parolees and their dependent children in Central San Diego County.
Housing Services – Justice-Involved, Serious Mental Illness • Center Star Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) provides 24-hour / 365-days per year evidence-based, intensive treatment and housing for adults diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and criminal justice backgrounds, who have been incarcerated at some time during the last year. • Serves an additional 25 homeless adults as part of the San Diego County Vulnerability Index Project. • North Star Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) provides 24-hour / 365-days per year services for mentally ill adults living in North San Diego County.
Housing Services – Serious Mental Illness • Center Star ACT and North Star ACT housing services are based on a ‘housing first’ model in order to support immediate stabilization. Temporary and transitional placements (e.g., single room occupancies) are used during the assessment phase. • Permanent supportive housing is client-centered and offered through rental subsidies (Mental Health Services Act sponsored) and HUD-based vouchers (Homeless Prevention, Shelter + Care, Safe Haven). • Clients receive medications, counseling, vocational rehabilitation, peer support, and case management.