For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Karen Klatt, HHS, (510) 981-7698

CITY OF BERKELEY TO RECEIVE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ACT ONE TIME FUNDS

Berkeley, California (Monday, February 04, 2008) - Increased funding is now available on a one-time basis from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to expand the Community Services & Supports (CSS) Plan for the cities of Berkeley and Albany.  Local programs are eligible to receive an additional one-time amount of $925,300.

Voters approved the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) in November 2004.  This Act places a 1% tax on every dollar of personal income over $1 million.  The State allocates these revenues to public mental health departments for the purpose of transforming and expanding mental health services.  There are five MHSA funding components. Community Services and Supports (CSS) is the largest and first component funded by the state.  In compliance with MHSA guidelines, in 2005 the City of Berkeley conducted an extensive planning process involving staff and community stakeholders to develop its CSS Plan. The Plan was approved in September 2006. Currently the City of Berkeley receives $1.2 million annually in CSS funds.

The California Department of Mental Health has announced the one time release of $64 million in unspent CSS State Administrative Funds for the provision of services at the local level to meet community needs.  Funds must be used in accordance with state guidelines for CSS programs.  In order to receive the additional one-time allocation, the City of Berkeley must submit a proposal to the State Department of Mental Health outlining how the funds will be used and initiate a 30-day public comment process.  The MHSA Steering Committee, who oversaw the planning and development of the original CSS Plan, reviewed and approved the final recommendations for the use of these one-time funds. 

These funds were made available shortly after the elimination of the very successful AB2034 program. In August 2007 the governor vetoed the AB2034 program, which previously funded the City of Berkeley at the level of $917,000 annually, and served approximately 92 homeless individuals with serious mental illness in need of intensive support services. 

The recommendation for the use of the one-time funds therefore is to minimize the adverse impact of the loss of the AB2034 Program by providing intensive services to 32 individuals who are in critical need of these services.  The existing CSS Full Service Partnership (FSP) program will be temporarily expanded to meet this need. The one-time funds will provide client supports including housing, employment and vocational services and will fund case management, psychiatric, housing development and administrative support staff. It is anticipated that using the one-time funds in this manner will enable clinicians to assist clients over an 18-month period in their transition from intensive supports. Former AB2034 clients who are not enrolled in the temporarily expanded FSP will continue to receive mental health services as needed from Berkeley Mental Health.

In accordance with MHSA guidelines, all proposed programs are subject to a 30-day public comment period.  The public comment period for this proposal will be Monday, February 4th through Tuesday, March 4th.  For more detailed information on how to review and provide feedback on the draft recommendations, the public is invited to view the proposal documents located in the reference section of the Public Library in downtown Berkeley or refer to the MHSA website at http://cobweb/mentalhealth where all related information will be posted within the next week. Comments can be submitted to:

Karen Klatt, MHSA Coordinator

Email: MHSA@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Phone: (510) 981-7698

Address: Mental Health Administration

               1947 Center St., 3rd Floor

               Berkeley, CA  94704

Following the thirty-day review period, a final proposal will be submitted for approval to the State Department of Mental Health.

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