County Accepts State Mental Health Funding
San Luis Obispo County supervisors have officially accepted $2.3 million in annual mental health funding generated by a tax on millionaires, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2004, levies a 1% tax on personal incomes exceeding $1 million.
The funding represents a 10% budget increase for the county Behavioral Health Services Department. The funding will continue through June 2008.
The county plans to use the funding to provide subsidized housing for 20 to 30 mentally ill individuals and/or their families annually, job training for up to 100 people per year and treatment programs for those with no or limited English proficiency. The county's plan also would increase staff to help newly discharged patients continue recovery programs (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/26).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) plan to use 10% of Proposition 63 funding to "build supportive housing for homeless people with mental illnesses and their families" will help "[c]ommunities that struggle to deal with the costs and chaos of homelessness," a Merced Sun-Star editorial states.
According to the Sun-Star, people who have "severe mental illness often cannot rely on treatment programs and drugs alone to help them live safe, independent lives. They need stable housing" (Merced Sun-Star, 5/27).