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City And County Of San Diego Award $5 Million For Behavioral Health Services

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and community leaders...

Credit: Office of Mayor Todd Gloria

Above: San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and community leaders posing for pictures in front of the La Maestra Housing for Hope project house in City Heights after announcing a $5 million award for the project.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Mayor Todd Gloria announced Monday 21 transitional housing units, four vehicles for crisis care teams and new technology for mental health and addiction services will be funded using $5 million of the $25 million County-City Behavioral Health Impact Fund.

"Trauma causes an individual to struggle with mental illness, become addicted and end up on our streets; with the Behavioral Health Impact Fund we are making more resources available to deliver the trauma-informed, person-centered care people need," Fletcher said. "These projects show the success of the Behavioral Health Impact Fund, and I would like this fund to continue as a vehicle to expand the capacity of mental health and addiction services long after the first $25 million is spent."

The Behavioral Health Impact Fund is intended to provide one-time capital funding for mental health and drug treatment providers to expand their capacity to provide services to individuals. Many organizations have the ability to draw down funds from the state and federal government for service delivery, but often do not have the ability to do so because they do not have the physical capacity or equipment or facilities required.

Fletcher approached San Diego about the idea to use settlement money from a legal dispute involving redevelopment money to fund the capital projects. All projects supported with the $25 million fund are to be concentrated in San Diego.

"The Behavioral Health Impact Fund's investment into these first five projects will be transformational for some of our most vulnerable neighbors," Gloria said. "The projects we've announced today will provide hundreds of San Diegans with access to the housing and healthcare they need to find a steady footing and get their life back on track."

Five different entities have been funded with the initial $5 million, including the La Maestra Housing for Hope project, located at 4135 Fairmount Ave. in City Heights.

The proposed project includes transforming an existing 4,867 square-foot building into a 12,400 square-foot, 21-unit, affordable transitional housing development with a housing office, community rooms, onsite laundry, storage and a rooftop garden within steps of the organization's Hope Clinic for the homeless.

"We are excited to expand our integrated behavioral health model to offer additional housing in the city of San Diego," said Zara Marselian, La Maestra Community Health Center founder and CEO. "The La Maestra Circle of Care provides patient-centered, trauma-informed care while also improving well-being by incorporating social determinants of health."

The La Maestra project represents $4.7 million of the $5 million granted Monday.

The other projects are:

• $74,301 to the Community Research Foundation to purchase three vehicles to directly transport individuals staying at three crisis residential treatment locations to medical appointments, housing and other healthcare needs;

• $37,401 to Stepping Stone of San Diego to create additional outdoor space for individual and group treatment services and to purchase an eight- passenger minivan to expand transportation to and from medical appointments for clients receiving treatment;

• $31,363.80 to the Sharp Healthcare Foundation to purchase 65 licenses to implement behavioral health services via telehealth; and

• $24,100 to Jewish Family Services to purchase technology to implement two new daytime Wi-Fi points of access for homeless outreach workers to provide telehealth services as part of their Drive Safe Parking Program.

The remaining $20 million from the Behavioral Health Impact Fund will be awarded later this year.

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