What is mental illness?

A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychiatric condition that afflicts children, youth, adults and older adults. The conditions are often debilitating and may cause distress and/or disability and is not a part of normal development or culture.

What is recovery?

Recovery Innovations of California (RICA) defines recovery as remembering who you are and using your strengths to become all that you were meant to be. RICA helps people discover the pathways to RECOVERY—Hope, Choice, Empowerment, Recovery Environment, Meaning and Purpose—and how to use them to feel better about themselves and develop their own plan for wellness.

How does supportive housing work?

Supportive housing units are generally integrated in new affordable housing developments. San Diego County Behavioral Health Services Division (BHS) works with developers and community partners to make a small percentage of the units available to qualified participants in Full Service Partnership (FSP) programs and to provide them with mental health services, case management, recovery services, educational programs, employment opportunities or training, and social services.

Participants hold their own leases and contribute to their rents, and are subject to the same rules and regulations as all other tenants.

Housing Resources

For a list of Mental Health Service Providers, see our list of Mental Health Resources.

1. City of San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC)

SDHC is an award-winning public agency dedicated to preserving and increasing affordable housing within the City of San Diego. The Housing Commission’s Rental Assistance Department administers the federally financed Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), which annually provides rent subsidies for about 38,000 people in the City of San Diego. (619) 231-9400

2. County of San Diego Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)

HCD promotes “safe, affordable housing opportunities and improved communities in the San Diego region.” County HCD also administers the federally financed Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), which provides rent subsidies for eligible residents within the County jurisdiction. (858) 694-4801

3. Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program Developers

MHSA Housing Program units are currently in development. Applications for units when available will be determined by the Full Service Partnership (FSP) providers listed under “Mental Health Resources” (next Section II – 3 that follows). The developers will advertise the availability of the units once their respective developments open. Developers currently active in the MHSA Housing program include:

  1. Affirmed Housing

    Affirmed Housing Group is a Southern-California based Affordable Housing Developer specializing in tax-credit and tax-exempt bond financed multi-family and single family developments. (858) 679-2828

  2. BRIDGE Housing

    BRIDGE creates high-quality, affordable homes for working families and seniors. With over 13,000 homes and counting, BRIDGE has become the leading affordable housing developer in California. We build a range of housing types that not only fit comfortably into their surroundings but also act as the catalyst for revitalizing and strengthening neighborhoods. Above all, BRIDGE builds communities. (415) 989-1111

  3. Father Joe’s Villages

    With seven large “villages” in the Southwest, Father Joe’s Villages envisions communities where everyone is able to obtain food, housing, healthcare, and education; and achieve his or her full potential. Father Joe’s mission is to help our neighbors in need by providing a continuum of care that promotes a pathway to self-sufficiency and independence. (619) 446-2100

  4. Hitzke Development Corporation

    Hitzke Development Corporation specializes in redevelopment. Ideal locations are transit-adjacent, mixed-use appropriate, with high-density zoning. (760) 798-9809

  5. Housing Development Partners (HDP)

    In 1990 the Housing Commission authorized the establishment of a nonprofit housing corporation, Housing Development Partners (HDP), formerly San Diego Housing Development Corporation. (619) 231-9400

  6. Meta Housing Corporation

    Meta Housing Corporation develops affordable and market-rate apartment communities for families and seniors throughout Southern California. Since 1969, Meta Housing has developed more than 12,000 residential units. Each Meta Housing community aims to provide the highest quality of life possible, integrating innovative design concepts with life-enhancing features that make a significant impact on the lives of their residents.  (310) 575-3543

  7. Squier Properties/ROEM Corporation

    ROEM Corporation is committed to creating high-quality, high-value infill communities for everyone. Through integrated and innovative planning, design, development, construction management, and marketing, ROEM provides innovative solutions to complicated urban housing and commercial demands. (408) 984-5600

  8. Townspeople, Inc.

    Townspeople, Inc. offers solutions to the housing needs of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; who are low-income and need an affordable place to live; and those who need better health care for special needs like HIV/AIDS. Services include homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, rental and utility assistance and information and referral to other housing and life supporting social services in San Diego. (619) 295-8802

  9. Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation

    Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation is a nonprofit affordable housing developer in San Diego and throughout California. Wakeland develops, acquires, and rehabilitates quality affordable housing, serving residents earning 60 percent or below the area median income. At Wakeland, quality includes sustainable building and comprehensive Resident Services programs for our residents. (619) 235-2296

4. Regional Continuum of Care Council

RCCC is a community-based forum focused on homelessness in the San Diego region.

5. United Way of San Diego County/Home Again

Home Again is United Way of San Diego County’s public engagement campaign to end chronic homelessness in San Diego County. The campaign supports San Diego County’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, and advocates providing affordable housing and supportive services to help move the chronically homeless off the streets and into stable living and working situations. (858) 492-2000

6. Housing Opportunities Collaborative

Housing Opportunities Collaborative (HOC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization consisting of HUD approved housing counseling agencies, community and nonprofit organizations, and city jurisdictions that support all aspects of homeownership and housing rights and responsibilities. (619) 283-2200

7. Regional Task Force on the Homeless

RTFH is the sole resource for managing a County-wide homeless management information system (HMIS) that enables service providers to track persons served, to refer individuals and families to critical resources, and to gather key demographic data and to understand trends in homelessness. (858) 292-7627

8. Supportive Housing Program (SHP)

SHP is a federal grant program designed as part of the Continuum of Care strategy, to promote the development of housing and supportive services to assist homeless persons in the transition from streets and shelters to permanent housing and maximum self-sufficiency.

9. Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program

The program typically runs from late November through April and provides vouchers for hotel/motel rooms for families with children, the disabled, and the elderly during the winter season. Catholic Charities administers this program for San Diego County, coordinating with various community-based homeless service agencies from around the region.

For more information on the Cold Weather Shelter Voucher Program, please call 2-1-1, press one for English, and ask the operator for information about hotel/motel vouchers.

10. Housing Resources Directory

The Housing Resources Directory was prepared by the County of San Diego’s Department of Housing and Community Development to provide residents and the community agencies that serve them with information on housing resources available to low and moderate income households. The City of San Diego has a similar resource. Please visit the City’s Housing Directory,

11. Fair Housing Program

The County of San Diego’s Fair Housing Program strives to reduce housing discrimination in the housing rental, sales, lending, and insurance markets on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, familial status (presence of children), or handicap, in compliance with the Fair Housing Act. For North County Lifeline, please call (866) 954-3354 x6226. To reach The Center for Social Advocacy, please call (619) 444-5700. For South Bay Community Services, please call (619) 420-3620 x140.

12. Corporation for Supportive Housing, Housing Inventory

The 2012 Housing Inventory is a compilation of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, along with short-term acute residential, residential recovery and residential treatment housing. The Housing Inventory is a list of housing that is made available to persons with mental illness.

2012 Housing Inventory

13. California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA)

For more than 35 years, CalHFA has supported the needs of renters and first-time homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income Californians. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the State’s affordable housing bank to make low interest rate loans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds. A completely self-supporting State agency, bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars.  (877) 922-5432

14. Independent Living Association

The Independent Living Association (ILA) Directory is a central place to find quality Independent Livings to fit your needs. The ILA Directory showcases high quality Independent Livings in San Diego County and is the premier referral source for hospitals, discharge planners, residents and family members. The Directory includes a comprehensive list of Independent Livings and highlights Independent Livings that meet ILA Quality Standards, as evaluated by a peer review process. The Directory includes photos and information and is searchable by area, price and amenities.  (858) 609-7960

Mental Health Resources

1. San Diego Access and Crisis Line

For mental health information and emergency services only, call (888) 724-7240.

2. Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT)

The 21 San Diego County PERT teams are comprised of specially trained officers and deputies who are paired with licensed mental health professionals. Together, they respond on-scene to situations involving people who are experiencing a mental health related crisis and have come to the attention of law enforcement. (619) 276-8112

3. Full Service Partnerships (FSP)

FSP programs provide consumers with an array of intensive services to assist them in their effort towards recovery. FSP programs typically include mental health services and supports, such as medication management, crisis intervention, case management and peer support. The programs also provide non-mental health services such as food, housing, respite care and treatment for co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse. FSP providers currently under contracts with the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, Mental Health Services, include:

  1. a. Community Research Foundation (CRF) for the IMPACT and Downtown IMPACT Programs (Adults 25-59) and Senior IMPACT program (Adults age 60 and older)

    IMPACT (619) 398-0355
    Downtown IMPACT (619) 398-2156
    Senior IMPACT (619) 977-3716

  2. b. Mental Health Systems, Inc.’s North Star and Center Star Programs (Adults 25-59)

    North Star  (760) 432-9884
    Center Star (619) 521-1743

  3. c. Providence Community Services’ Catalyst Program (Transition Age Youth 18-25)

    Catalyst Program (858) 300-0460

    The County contracted FSP providers are primary supportive service providers responsible for delivering culturally-sensitive, client-centered mental health and related social services that include housing eligible clients in supportive housing units. Please click here for more information on the State Department of Mental Health’s website.

4. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI San Diego’s mission is the sharing of information and striving to end the stigma associated with mental illness. To this end, they offer a Helpline, support groups, educational meetings, newsletters, a lending library, and a number of classes on mental illness held at various locations throughout San Diego County.  (619) 543-1434

5. San Diego Network of Care

Network of Care is a comprehensive, Internet-based community resource for people with mental illness, as well as their caregivers and service providers. (415) 458-5900

6. Mental Health America of San Diego County (MHA)

MHA brings together clients, families, professionals, providers, community leaders and the public to collaborate, cooperate and ensure available, affordable care to all citizens.  (619) 543-0412

7. Recovery Innovations of California (RICA)

RI International – San Diego Chapter

RI International provides recovery-based services to adults with mental health and/or addiction challenges and offers free wellness and recovery classes to adults experiencing mental health challenges. (858) 274-4650

8. MAAC Project

The MAAC Project is a multi-purpose social service agency with a successful 45 year history of serving various communities throughout San Diego County. MAAC acts as a catalyst to help individuals and families become self-sufficient. MAAC provides a spectrum of unique programs designed to assist clients by engaging them in the enhancement of their own lives through lifestyle changes. The programs strive to improve clients’ economic standing as well as their ability to access resources available to them.  (619) 426-3595

9. California Institute for Mental Health (CiMH)

CiMH was established in 1993 to promote excellence in mental health services through training, technical assistance, research and policy development. Local mental health directors founded CiMH to work collaboratively with all mental health systems stakeholders. The commitment to collaboration has led the board to expand board membership to include consumers, family members, and other interested persons representing the public interest.  (916) 556-3480

Housing Matters Survey Findings

I. Housing Matters Survey Findings

In January 2010, a baseline survey of San Diego residents was conducted to establish statistically reliable benchmark measures of the public’s awareness, understanding, and opinions as they relate to supportive housing, persons with psychiatric disabilities, and associated issues. The benchmark findings helped shape the Housing Matters campaign. In October 2011, Cook + Schmid conducted a Tracking Survey to evaluate the success of the campaign and to measure the impacts of the campaign in raising public awareness of—and shaping opinions about—supportive housing in San Diego.

Tracking Survey Results
Tracking Survey Executive Summary

Additional Resources

1. Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

CSH is a national nonprofit organization and community development financial institution that helps communities create permanent housing with services to prevent and end homelessness. CSH are consultants under contract with San Diego County BHS. (619) 232-1261

2. County of San Diego Mental Health Services Act (619) 584-3012

3. MHSA Housing Program, Plan and Guidelines for State Funding Application

4. MHSA Fourth Annual Housing Plan Update

5. California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA)

CMHDA is a non profit advocacy association representing the mental health directors from each of California’s 58 counties, as well as two cities. The goal of CMHDA is to assist in building a public mental health system that ensures the accessibility of quality, cost-effective mental health care. (916) 556-3477

6. 211

By dialing 211, you are linked to a live highly-trained Information & Referral Specialist who will navigate you through your situation by assessing your needs and then matching you to the best resource in your community. Assistance is confidential and offered in more than 150 languages. 211 has a Board and Care list available for referral. Call 2-1-1

7. Shelter Plus Care (S+C)

National program, Shelter Plus Care, provides long-term housing and support services for people who are chronically homeless and have disabilities.

For more information on the Housing Matters campaign implementation, please view the Housing Matters FAQs on the Media Gallery page.