February 2, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) and the California Department of Mental Health today announce the completion of three innovative housing complexes with dedicated units that will serve Californians with mental illness and their families in San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Rohnert Park.

"The housing challenges facing Californians today are significant and especially so for individuals who need supportive services," said Steve Spears, acting CalHFA executive director. "We are honored to play a part in meeting these needs with the Department of Mental Health and our local county mental health departments."

Each of the facilities was funded in part by Californian's historic Mental Health Services Act Housing Program, which will provide $400 million in financing for the capital costs associated with development, acquisition, construction and/or rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing for individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at risk for homelessness and their families.

"This innovative housing program is a perfect example of what a successful public/private partnership can do to provide much needed mental health services in our communities and help end homelessness in California," Dr. Stephen Mayberg, Department of Mental Health director.

Under the program, a total of 26 units at three different housing facilities will serve Californians with mental illness, including:

  • Six supportive housing units at the Vida Nueva Apartments in Rohnert Park, funded partially through $1.2 million in permanent loans and operating subsidies.
  • Ten units at the Polk Street Apartments in downtown San Francisco, which received $1 million in financing.
  • Ten housing units at the Garden Street Apartments in Santa Barbara. The facility received funding for $1 million in capital and an operating subsidy of $500,000.

All three properties contain additional amenities such as community rooms, recreational spaces and on-site parking, and were funded through various combinations of public/private partnerships.

The Mental Health Services Act Housing Program embodies both individual and system-wide transformational goals through a unique collaboration among government agencies at the local and state level. The partners in this collaboration include CalHFA and the Department of Housing and Community Development, with their housing and financial expertise; the Department of Mental Health, with responsibility for overseeing the mental health system and ensuring that the residents have access to an appropriate array of services and supports; and county mental health departments, which have ultimate responsibility for the design and delivery of mental health services and supports throughout the state.

Additional details about this Housing Program can be accessed through the Department of Mental Health at and CalHFA at

About the California Housing Finance Agency
The California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 with the goal of helping more Californians live in a home they can afford. CalHFA's Multifamily Division has invested $1.4 billion for the construction and preservation of more than 33,000 affordable rental housing units to assist very low and low income Californians. For more information on Multifamily Loan Finance programs and the full complement of CalHFA programs, visit or call toll free 877.9.CalHFA (877.922.5432).

About the California Department of Mental Health
The California Department of Mental Health, entrusted with leadership of the California mental health system, ensures through partnerships the availability and accessibility of effective, efficient, culturally competent services. This is accomplished through advocacy, education, innovation, outreach, understanding, oversight, monitoring, quality improvement, and the provision of direct services.

Contact: Melissa Flores
Phone: 916.324.4647
Fax: 916.322.2345