Signup for Nathan's News Signup for Nathan's News

$5 Million from Behavioral Health Impact Fund to be Spent on 21 Transitional Housing Units, Crisis Treatment Vehicles, & Technology for Mental Health & Addiction Services



Twenty-one transitional housing units, 4 vehicles for crisis care teams and new technology for mental health and addiction services will be funded using $5 million of the $25 million County-City Behavioral Health Impact Fund. Today, Chair Nathan Fletcher and Mayor Todd Gloria along with leaders from La Maestra Community Health Centers made the announcement in City Heights at the future location for the new transitional housing units. 

“Trauma causes an individual to struggle with mental illness, become addicted and end up on our streets; with the Behavioral Health Impact Fund we are making more resources available to deliver the trauma-informed, person-centered care people need,” said Chair Fletcher. “These projects show the success of the Behavioral Health Impact Fund and I would like this fund to continue as a vehicle to expand the capacity of mental health and addiction services long after the first $25 million is spent. I am committed to finding a way to replenish the fund so we can put more San Diegans on a better path to recovery.” 

The Behavioral Health Impact Fund was conceptualized by Chair Fletcher in 2019 to provide one-time capital funding for mental health and drug treatment providers to expand their capacity to provide services to individuals. Many organizations have the ability to draw down funds from the State and Federal government for service delivery, but often do not have the ability to do so because they do not have the physical capacity of equipment or facilities to do so. Chair Fletcher approached the City of San Diego about the idea to use settlement money from a legal dispute involving redevelopment money to fund the capital projects. All projects supported with the $25 million fund are to be concentrated in the City of San Diego.

“The Behavioral Health Impact Fund’s investment into these first five projects will be transformational for some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Mayor Gloria said. “The projects we’ve announced today will provide hundreds of San Diegans with access to the housing and healthcare they need to find a steady footing and get their life back on track.”

Five different entities have been funded with the initial $5 million.  All were tremendously worthy projects, but one that will make the biggest visible change to the behavioral health landscape in San Diego is the La Maestra Housing for Hope located at 4135 Fairmount Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105. 

La Maestra’s proposed project includes transforming an existing 4,867 square-foot building into a 12,400 square-foot, 21-unit, affordable transitional housing development with a housing office, community rooms, onsite laundry, storage, and a rooftop garden within steps of the organization’s Hope Clinic for the homeless (HOPE).

“We are excited to expand our integrated behavioral health model to offer additional housing in the City of San Diego. The La Maestra Circle of Care provides patient-centered, trauma-informed care while also improving well-being by incorporating social determinants of health, said Zara Marselian, La Maestra Community Health Center Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to the County and City of San Diego for their continued support and partnership.”

Complete List of Funded Projects: 

La Maestra Community Health Center 

Project Description: Create 21 units of transitional housing dedicated to individuals with behavioral health conditions by providing whole person care with integrated health and wellness services. This project will serve 30 individuals annually and it is projected that 825 individuals with behavioral health conditions will benefit from the housing, health and wellness services over the project’s useful life.  

Amount Funded:  $4,723,827.00

Community Research Foundation

Project Description: Purchase three vehicles to directly transport individuals staying at three Crisis Residential Treatment locations in the City of San Diego to medical appointments, housing, and other healthcare needs. 

Amount Funded:  $74,301.00

Stepping Stone of San Diego
Project Description: Purchase a custom sail share to create additional outdoor space for individual and group treatment services, and an eight-passenger minivan to expand transportation to and from medical appointments for clients receiving treatment.
Amount Funded: $37,401.00

Sharp Healthcare Foundation

Project Description: Purchase 65 licenses to implement behavioral health services via telehealth. Telehealth is evidence-based approach to advance health equity by creating access to critical mental health services to people not able to participate in person 

Amount Funded: $31,363.80

Jewish Family Services

Project Description: Purchase technology to implement two new daytime Wi-Fi points of access for homeless outreach workers to provide telehealth services as part of their Drive Safe Parking Program.  

Amount Description: $24,100.00

The remaining $20 million from the Behavioral Health Impact Fund will be awarded later this year. 

Quotes from Other Awardees:

Jack Farmer, Senior Vice President, Community Research Foundation said: “We are so grateful for the vans which will be used to assist over 1,000 individuals annually to move from an acute phase of severe mental illness to recovery in the community. These three evidence-based Short-Term Acute Residential Treatment programs serve over 1,000 San Diego adults annually, with 58% of them homeless at admission and 94% diagnosed with a substance use disorder in addition to their mental illness. The vans will increase access to behavioral health services, primary care, housing and other social services.”

Trisha Khaleghi, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and Sharp McDonald Center said: “The significance of providing behavioral health telemedicine services cannot be underestimated. Particularly in the current environment where many are isolated, Sharp Mesa Vista continues to ensure that care is available for patients in need of mental health services and additionally for those affected by the lingering effects of COVID-19. The funding from the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Impact Fund, supporting the purchase of Webex licenses for Sharp’s telemedicine services, will allow Sharp Mesa Vista clinicians and caregivers to reach patients in need now and into the future. We are grateful for the support and for the County’s recognition of the role Sharp Mesa Vista plays in the community.” 

Michael Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service of San Diego said: “Expanding Wi-Fi service at our Safe Parking Program sites will improve access for participants as they search for housing, identify employment opportunities, participate in online learning and access telehealth services using their own devices. We’re grateful for the support of the County in strengthening connections to services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.”

The Behavioral Health Impact Fund is part of Chair Fletcher’s initiative to create a Better Way for Behavioral Health Services and aligns with his Framework for the Future of San Diego County.  The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for: racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.