Is Your California County Preparing for an Allocation of One-time Funding for Persons with Serious Mental Illness Who Are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless?

$50 Million for Homeless Mentally Ill Outreach and Treatment Program-

Joe Colletti, PhD
Hub for Urban Initiatives
September 2018

California Senate Bill 840 (SB 840) provides one-time flexible funding in the amount of $50 million to counties for persons with serious mental illness and who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as part of the Homeless Mentally Ill Outreach and Treatment Program.

Funding was included in the California State Budget 2018 – 19, which noted

  • “a one-time augmentation of $50 million for the Department of Health Care Services to provide counties with targeted funding for multi-disciplinary teams to provide intensive outreach, treatment and related services for homeless persons with mental illness. This type of intervention is expected to result in earlier identification of mental health needs, prevention of criminal justice involvement, and better coordination of care for this population at the local level.”

In order to receive the one-time funds, counties must respond to a Letter of Interest (LOI) that was requested by the California Department of Health Care Services. County Administrative Officers received notification of the LOI and funding allocations.

SB 840 states in Section 1 (a) that

  • “Interested counties may submit requests for an allocation pursuant to this item within 90 days of enactment of this act. This request shall be accompanied by a resolution, adopted by the county’s governing board, supporting the use of funds for the intended purpose of this item.”

SB 840 states in Section 1 (c) that

  • “Counties may use all available and appropriate funding to leverage other funding sources, such as federal grants, in serving individuals with severe mental illness who are also homeless or at immediate risk of being homeless” and

and Section 1 (e) states

  • “These funds shall pay for only that portion of the costs of services not otherwise provided by federal funds or other state funds and shall not supplant other funds for these purposes.”

A resolution authorizing a county to participate in the Homeless Mentally Ill Outreach and Treatment funding opportunity must be passed by the County Board of Supervisors

As noted in the 2018-19 Budget California Spending Plan,

  • “The funds will be available through 2019-20 and are intended to provide bridge funding prior to the implementation of other programs targeted at homeless persons with mental illness, such as the No Place Like Home program.”

Also noted is

  • “Grant determinations will be made by DHCS in consultation with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) based on a county’s number of homeless persons with mental illness and its overall population.”

CSAC is requiring that counties and cities, along with non-profit and faith leaders, work together prior to releasing funds to counties. Counties are encouraged by CSAC to include collaboration in their LOIs.

LOIs are due to the California Department of Health Care Services by September 25.

For more information and to see a list of allocations click here.

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