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Supervisors approve Behavioral Health Impact Fund, but no money allocated yet

The San Diego County Administration Building is shown on Jan. 12, 2021.
Zoë Meyers
The San Diego County Administration Building is shown on Jan. 12, 2021.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a policy to establish a new Behavioral Health Impact Fund, intended to award grants for services and infrastructure to expand behavioral health options in the region.

The proposal for the fund was introduced by Chairman Nathan Fletcher, and Tuesday's action only established the fund without allocating money to it.

"We funded some great projects with the original version of the impact fund we established through a partnership with the city of San Diego," Fletcher said. "Those funds are nearly depleted, and we want to replicate that model, but this time have it be solely managed by the county of San Diego. This will give us more flexibility to fund a wider variety of projects all over the county."


Fletcher proposed the initial fund in 2019 to provide one-time funding for mental health and drug treatment providers to expand their services. He 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 were in the city.

The first money from that initial fund was disbursed in May 2021. Funded projects included:

— McAlister Institute for Treatment and Education to open 58 residential substance use disorder beds;

— La Maestra Community Health Center to build 21 units of transitional housing dedicated to individuals with behavioral health conditions;

— Community Research Foundation to purchase three vehicles to directly transport individuals staying at three crisis residential treatment locations;


— Stepping Stone of San Diego to purchase a custom sail share to create additional outdoor space for individual and group treatment services;

— Sharp Healthcare Foundation to purchase 65 licenses to implement behavioral health services via telehealth;

— 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; and

— Urban Street Angels for construction and improvements for facility serving transitional aged youth experiencing homelessness.

About $7.5 million remains from the original impact fund and will be spent in partnership with the city.