Commission To Review Proposition 63 Funding Formula
Members of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission are scheduled to discuss on Friday the current formula for distributing Proposition 63 funds, which some counties say has yielded "disappointing" allocations that are "millions short" of the anticipated amount, the Contra Costa Times reports.
According to the Times, the projected totals for funding allocations to Bay Area counties are less than half those anticipated during the Proposition 63 campaign. Some Bay Area mental health advocates have said the state's distribution formula does not fully account for the cost of living and homeless population in the area.
San Francisco, which is expected to receive $5.3 million, is seeking changes to the formula, which some critics say favors Southern California. The Department of Mental Health said that the funding formula was applied to all counties equally.
Contra Costa County will receive about $7.1 million annually to fund new mental health services under Proposition 63, and Alameda County is expected to receive about $11 million. The funding is about half of the total amount each county will receive, with the remainder to be distributed later for facilities, training and prevention programs.
The funding equation considers population, poverty rates, the number of uninsured residents, prevalence of serious mental illness, cost of living, current availability of mental health services and other factors. The homeless population is not taken into account. Officials say there is no established source for such figures.
Proposition 63 author and Commission Chair Darrell Steinberg said it would be difficult for the mental health department to change this year's estimates. However, he said the formula could be changed later and in the interim additional money could be directed to specific causes and programs (Steffens, Contra Costa Times, 7/22).
In related news, KCET's "Life & Times" on Wednesday reported on the allocation of funds from Proposition 63. The segment includes comments from:
- Casey Horan, executive director of Lamp Community, a not-for-profit organization serving homeless men and women with mental illnesses in Los Angeles;
- Marvin Southard, director of Los Angeles County's Department of Mental Health; and
- Bruce Williams, an outreach coordinator for Los Angeles' homeless population (Cuevas, "Life & Times," KCET, 7/20).