New Funding Propels Van Nuys Mental Health Center
A new agency in Van Nuys provides services to elderly residents with mental illnesses, a population that is severely underserved and sometimes reluctant to seek services, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center has a $550,000 budget from Proposition 63, a 2004 ballot measure that raised the state income tax on high-income residents to fund mental health services.
The center, which opened six months ago, treats about 20 patients, with a capacity for 40.
Mark Lamers, the program's coordinator, said the agency is focused on treating residents who "are not personally motivated to get services and aren't linked up with other agencies."
Michele Shepherd, an assistant at the agency, said about one-third of elderly residents in Los Angeles County lived at or below 200% of the federal poverty level in 2003. She noted that many of those are likely to have a mental illness (Llanos, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/7).