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Mayor Faulconer discusses $25 million commitment to mental health services

The funds will go toward mental health assessment and treatment, detoxification, crisis stabilization, residential treatment and supportive housing.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO — On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Chairman Greg Cox, and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher discussed a $25 million commitment to behavioral health providers. The investment will help those with mental illness or addiction. 

Sponsored by Cox and Fletcher, the Behavioral Health Impact Fund will allow "community-based organizations to serve more clients for longer periods of time."

Cox, the board chairman, first announced the proposal during his State of the County speech on Feb. 19.

"What I couldn't predict is that we would experience a crisis like COVID-19," he said during Tuesday's meeting. The spread of the coronavirus "has shocked our health care system" and will impact behavioral health services, Cox added. 

The money, which will be used for capital investments, stems from an agreement between the county and city of San Diego. The city and county will both chose an official representative to approve any funding requests.

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Faulconer said that alcohol and drug abuse impacts all San Diegans, but there’s a particular need in our homeless communities.

“This fund is for all San Diegans - housed and unhoused,” said Faulconer.

A portion of these funds - that have been tied up in lawsuits since 2011 - will become available to help service providers. 

“The need is real,” said Faulconer. 

Faulconer expects many organizations will show interest in the funding when it becomes available later this week. Cox said the cost to build these behavioral facilities is sometimes out-of-budget for local nonprofits, so these funds can make a difference.

The city responds to approximately 50,000 calls for mental health and addiction issues annually, according to Faulconer.

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