For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Karen Klatt, Mental Health Services Act Coordinator, (510) 981-7698
BERKELEY TO RECEIVE ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Residents are invited to review the recommendations and submit comments
Berkeley, California (Friday, July 20, 2007) - The public is invited to give their input on what should be done with an additional $330,000 of state mental health funds. Increased funding is now available from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) for the cities of Berkeley and Albany. Local programs will receive an additional $330,000 annually beginning July 1, 2007.
In order to receive the additional funding, the City of Berkeley must present the state with an outline of how the funds will be used and allow the public a 30-day period to comment on those recommendations. The public comment period begins July 20 and will run through August 20. Residents can download and review the recommendations at www.CityOfBerkeley.info/mentalhealth/prop63.html and follow the directions to respond. Residents without Internet access are invited to call (510) 981-7698 for several options on viewing the City’s recommendations.
Following the review period, a final proposal will be submitted for approval to the State Department of Mental Health. The additional funds must be used in accordance with state regulations and the Community Services and Supports Plan approved last September. The MHSA Steering Committee, comprised of staff, consumers and other stakeholders has provided recommendations on how to best use the additional funds. Primary recommendations include: greater supports to help people with serious mental illnesses maintain housing; a fulltime Peer Counselor, funding for benefits advocacy; and additional services for Transition Age Youth.
The Mental Health Services Act is California state legislation approved by voters in November 2004. This Act places a 1% tax on every dollar of personal income over $1 million. The State allocates these revenues to local mental health departments for the purpose of transforming and expanding mental health services. State income tax revenues have exceeded projections and according to the new law, the State is required to release these additional funds to local governments.
The Mental Health Services Act has five funding allocations; the largest and first to be released was Community Services and Supports (CSS). Berkeley’s initial Community Services and Supports (CSS) plan was submitted to the state in March 2006 after an extended planning process by staff and community stakeholders. The CSS plan was approved in September 2006 for approximately $900,000 annually. The additional funding will put the plan total at over 1.2 million annually.