Governor Brown, on July 1, signed AB 1618 to address California’s large homeless population, which includes a $2 billion statewide plan to develop permanent housing for people in need of mental health services and who are homeless, chronically homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
AB 1618 will use $2 billion to build 14,000 housing units for the homeless population, including veterans and the mentally ill. Also known as, “No Place Like Home”, the bill was authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, of Los Angeles and sponsored by Steinberg Institute founded by former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
In recent years, many of the residential care homes serving low income elderly and adults with mental illness have closed. Within the hierarchy of residential care funding, homes caring for low income adults with mental illness are last on this list. Funding for low-income adults with mental illness is often limited to SSI/SSP of $1,014 a month — while supplemented with a few hundred dollars by some counties. Sacramento County, for example, does not provide supplemental funding.
According to the Pineda family — a residential care home operator — who have been caring for individuals with mental illness for over 30 years, chicken (instead of beef or pork) is often served not by choice, but rather as a matter of economy. In these homes, shopping for home essentials is done mostly in thrift stores and garage sales.
A pro-forma business analysis prepared by 6Beds’ Director, George Kutnerian (a top MBA graduate), yielded a break even point of $3,600 a month per client for a home caring for an average of 5 residents. The $1,014 a month per SSI/SSP resident is a far cry from what is required for most facilities to simply break-even.
That being said, there is an increasing number of these care homes at the brink of closing and that have closed — placing their residents a step away from homelessness. With AB 1618, we’re finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
We thank all 6Beds leaders, supporters and members who attended our third rally at the State Capitol on March 17, 2015, as we paid tribute to the unsung heroes of residential care who provide permanent housing and care for adults suffering from mental illness who are on SSI/SSP.
To those unfamiliar with 6Beds, we are a non-profit organization advocating for safe, quality and affordable residential care to the frail elderly, adults with developmental disability and mental illness. As the only residential care organization of its kind to be recognized as a DSS stakeholder and that actively works with DDS, DOL and DLSE, 6Beds represents over 2,000 residential care facilities (and growing) that house about 12,000 residents. Since its inception in August of 2014, 6Beds’ social media followers has ballooned to over 6,400 blog followers (and growing), along with 3,000 email subscribers.
AB 1618’s “No Place Like Home” program is truly a significant milestone for our cause and for our industry. Please share the good news with families and friends, and especially with those who are strong advocates for the mental illness community.