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Proposed $11M Yuba City complex for homeless sails through public review

An £11 million apartment complex for the homeless and mentally ill proposed for Yuba City made it through a 30-day public review period with little opposition.

At Monday’s public hearing, Dr. Tony Hobson, assistant director for Health and Human Services, Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health, said nothing came from the public that was a “showstopper.”

“I am excited,” Hobson said after the hearing. “It’s a step in the right direction. It’s not going to solve the problem all together, but certainly for small counties, this is a big step.

Hopefully it will be a model to emulate in other places.”

No members of the public attended Monday’s hearing about the proposed 42-unit development, called the Richland Permanent Supportive Housing Complex. At 448 Garden Highway in Yuba City, the complex would be constructed near a number of residences, including the low-income Richland Housing Center.

Hobson spoke briefly about the concerns of a couple who lives near the proposed site, which was discussed in a previous community meeting.

The concern was about the safety of the public and the amount of support needed to attend to those with mental illness.

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“I think the term ‘severe mental illness’ is kind of scary to some,” Hobson said. “Learning that we are going to put homeless people, who also have severe mental illness in an apartment complex, may be frightening.”

Hobson said there is a misperception about those with mental illness and how they interact with society. He said if people are unmedicated, then it becomes an issue just like any other disease.

According to the project description, the site will include on-site case management offices.

Residents will have access to a range of supportive services, including psychiatric care, skills development and addiction disorder treatment.

Manny Vasquez, chair for the Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health advisory board, voiced his strong support for the project at Monday’s hearing.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Vasquez. “This is for the health and welfare of the city and the homeless. I am glad this is coming about because those people out there need help bad.”

The Mental Health Services Act stipulates funding needs to be community driven. The 30-day public review period was part of the action needed for Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health to access the £1.5 million already designated to the department through the act.

Approval by Sutter and Yuba supervisors is needed to secure funding from Mental Health Services Act and No Place Like Home program.

According to Hobson, if approved, the department will put a resolution in place for the Regional Housing Authority to apply for low-income housing tax credits.

According to Beckie Flores, planning and community development manager for the Regional Housing Authority, project coordinators plan to apply in March 2018.

If rejected, project coordinators can apply a few months later in July.

Yuba County to vote on funding Tuesday

Yuba County supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to use available state funding and revenues generated from income taxes on its wealthiest residents to help support the ongoing pre-planning for a homeless and mentally ill housing project in Yuba City.

“The housing project is a bi-county effort in which we are participating, so this is just a formality of that,” said Russ Brown, public information officer for Yuba County.

Tony Hobson, assistant director of Health and Human Services for Sutter County, requested the Yuba County Board of Supervisors take two actions at its meeting to help with funding for the 42-unit housing project proposed for Garden Highway in Yuba City.

The first request is for county supervisors to decide whether to apply for funds through the state’s No Place Like Home program, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 and dedicates bond proceeds to housing developments for mentally ill or homeless individuals.

Yuba County is eligible to receive an allocation of £791,491 through the program’s noncompetitive allocation – which is monies set aside for the state’s smaller counties. If the board decides to apply for the funding and is awarded the allocation by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, it can either use the funding for the housing project or use the monies for an alternative project in the county.

Hobson wrote in a staff report that the board’s action was necessary for the Regional Housing Authority – the local entity responsible for the proposed housing development – “to move forward with further pre-planning efforts.”

The second request is for the board to authorize the use of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds, which are county revenues generated from individuals with incomes in excess of £1 million per year who are levied an additional 1 percent income tax to pay for expanded mental health services statewide.

MHSA was a voter initiative passed in 2004.

Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health already oversees the MHSA special revenue funding – which currently has a restricted fund balance of £1.5 million generated in both Yuba and Sutter counties.

Both Yuba and Sutter County supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to give Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health the authority to use that money for the housing project.

If the board chooses not to authorize the funding for the housing project, the county can use it for an alternative project, according to Hobson’s staff report.

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