*And other fascinating observations from the MHSA 3 Year Plan and Expenditure Hearing
Yesterday evening, along with other representatives from local CBOs (Community Based Organizations), I attended the San Joaquin County Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) 3 Year Expenditure and Expenditure Hearing. It was a very sobering and telling experience. More after the flip!
Two priority areas for the MHSA is to have mental health services engage the community and create innovative services to address various populations that experience disparities in mental health, including the LGBT+ community. First off, not a single community member (outside of representatives from existing service agencies) was in attendance. Secondly, members of the Behavioral Health Board conducted themselves in surprising fashion. In the 20 odd years of public service I have never witnessed a governing body be so hostile towards public statements during a hearing. It almost felt as if some members of the Board looked at their role as agency protector instead of "public interest" protector.
None the less, shame on our citizenry for not participating in this planning process. From our questions to staff, it's apparent that existing clients are brought it to the process by their existing partnerships but if we as public don't get engaged, well, there's no one but ourselves to blame when plans get created that are counterproductive to the needs of the community at large. And. That. Is. Exactly. What. This. Plan. Does. Which brings me to the oddity of the day....
Itemized within their "Innovative" funding are plans for two housing projects to support existing BHS clients. The question that we need to be asking ourselves is; 1) Is a housing program truly innovative as outlined within MHSA; and 2) is it an appropriate use of funds? Especially when these funds could go towards something truly innovative like a Trauma Recovery Center?
The approved plan now goes to the Board of Supervisors so folks need to be organizing and campaigning on behalf of their interest. to To learn more about our County's BHS priorities, head over to their 3 year plan and budget here
(Note: The views expressed in this post are from the author alone and not the coalition represented within the Green Ribbon Paper.)