S-07-06


WHEREAS, good mental health is an integral component of a person's overall heath and well-being; and WHEREAS, in California today, 5% of individuals may experience severe mental illness; and WHEREAS, mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible; and WHEREAS, thousands of suffering people remain on our streets because they are experiencing untreated severe mental illnesses; and WHEREAS, homeless people with mental illnesses are often likely to have acute and chronic physical health problems, abuse alcohol and drugs, have escalating, ongoing psychiatric symptoms, and become incarcerated; and WHEREAS, studies estimate that over a million Californians are homeless at some point during each year; and WHEREAS, supportive housing combines permanent, affordable housing with a range of support services that help people with mental illness and other disabilities stabilize their lives and function as members of the community; and WHEREAS, studies have shown that 95% of supportive housing costs are offset by service reductions, making supportive housing a sound public investment; and WHEREAS, supportive housing for persons with special needs, including physical disabilities, mental illness, and chronic homelessness, is particularly hard to build, as the residents typically are only able to pay minimal rent making it difficult for developers of this type of housing to support large amounts of conventional debt; and WHEREAS, state government has an opportunity to lead by example in recognizing that "Every Californian deserves a place to call home; and WHEREAS, the Health and Human Services Agency and the Department of Mental Health provide access to services and supports that promote the health, well-being, and independent living of the state's most vulnerable children, adults, and families; and WHEREAS, the California Housing Finance Agency has developed unique expertise in real estate development, underwriting, and finance to provide affordable housing to thousands of Californians; and WHEREAS, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the state's principal housing agency and the mission of HCD is to provide leadership, policies and programs to expand and preserve safe and affordable housing opportunities and promote strong communities for all Californians; and WHEREAS, in 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, which expanded mental health care for children, youth, adults, and seniors; and WHEREAS, the Mental Health Services Act dedicated a significant portion of funds for capital facilities. NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this Order to become effective immediately: 1. With the goal of creating 10,000 additional units of supportive housing, the Department of Mental Health (DMH), in consultation with the California Mental Health Directors Association, is directed to allocate up to $75 million in Mental Health Services Act funds each year to finance the capital costs associated with development, acquisition, construction and/or rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for individuals with mental illness and their families, especially including homeless individuals with mental illness and their families; 2. DMH shall work with the HCD and the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to utilize those agencies' expertise in housing and real estate development, financial markets, loan underwriting and asset management, including expanding other funding sources and tax incentives to maximize the total commitment devoted to financing permanent supportive housing for individuals with mental illness and their families, especially including homeless individuals with mental illness and their families; 3. DMH, HCD and CalHFA shall work with other state agencies, county mental health departments, and other local and private parties to assist in the development of county Community Services and Supports Plans that focus on the housing needs of individuals with mental illness; 4. DMH, HCD and CalHFA shall take appropriate actions to ensure all California counties, large and small, have the opportunity to obtain funding for the supportive housing funding, providing technical assistance to any county upon request, to ensure that all counties have the opportunity to propose projects for the use of these funds; 5. CalHFA is directed to seek legislation creating a new category of housing within its statutes specifically permitting CalHFA to finance housing for persons with mental or physical disabilities who are in need of supportive housing; 6. Nothing in this Order shall preclude the funding of other capital facilities and technology needs where such funds are available and have been allocated for such purposes pursuant to the Mental Health Services Act; and 7. I further direct that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this Order.