MHSA Housing Program

State Funding for Developing Permanent Supportive Housing for Individuals with Severe Mental Illness

Statewide, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program includes $75 million per year for the capital costs of permanent supportive housing for people with serious mental illness and their families that are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, and $40 million per year for operating subsidies in these developments. Capital funds will be available in the form of loans from the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to qualified housing developers. To be eligible, projects must be linked with MHSA-funded services.

The California Department of Mental Health (DMH) has allocated funds for the first 3½ years of the program using a formula. For this initial period, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services has been allocated about $14.7 million. Of this, up to $4.9 million may be used to capitalize 20-year operating subsidy reserves. Berkeley Mental Health has an initial allocation of nearly $1.3 million, of which up to $419,500 may be used for operating subsidy reserves. Continued funding for this program will depend on the availability of MHSA funds at the state level.

DMH and CalHFA have issued application materials for this funding source. BHCS and BMH must review and approve applications locally prior to their submission to CalHFA. For complete details, visit: California Department of Mental Health – Mental Health Services Act – Housing

What is the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)? In November 2004, voters in California passed Proposition 63 - the Mental Health services Act. The Act became law in January 2005, and created a new funding source to expand and improve California’s mental health services system. The additional revenue comes from a one percent tax on personal income in excess of $1 million per year. The Act included funding for a range of activities including housing assistance for households impacted by serious mental health issues.

MHSA Housing Efforts in Alameda County

Alameda County has invested significant amounts of MHSA funding into improving the housing situations of households impacted by serious mental health issues. MHSA funding in Alameda County has been used to:

  1. Create a Housing Services Office;
  2. Support the efforts to end homelessness coordinated by EveryOne Home;
  3. Develop and maintain a housing search website,
  4. Provide housing-related training and education;
  5. Subsidize housing costs for clients in specialized intensive programs;
  6. Provide financial assistance to prevent homelessness and help people move from homelessness into stable housing;
  7. Create service programs focused on helping homeless individuals move into permanent housing; and
  8. Develop new affordable housing opportunities (MHSA Housing Program).
These collective efforts have contributed to significant reductions in homelessness among people with serious mental health issues.

MHSA Housing Program

At the state level some MHSA funding was set aside to promote the development of more affordable housing for households impacted by serious mental health issues. Each county received an initial allocation of MHSA-funding to be managed by the Department of Mental Health and the California Housing Finance Agency. Alameda County’s initial state allocation was $14.6 million. Locally, Alameda County leaders have invested an additional $4.4 million into MHSA housing development.

$19 Million for MHSA Housing—where did the money go?

20 housing sites with some MHSA funding 1,131 total units in all housing projects
15 sites completed and occupied 136 dedicated MHSA units
3 sites in lease-up phase 13 TAY units, 19 for seniors
1 sites in construction phase North County =91; Central County = 22
1 site in state application phase South County = 20; East County = 3 73 studios/rooms; 61 one bedrooms; 1 two bedroom; 1 three bedroom
For a booklet of MHSA housing in Alameda County, please Housing Service Office.