Select Committee on Homelessness
Hearing, The Road Home: Step Two
Mental Health Systems
Laura V. Otis-Miles, Ph.D., CPRP
Vice President
Mental Health Systems
• Mental Health Systems (MHS) is a not-for-profit
organization founded in 1978 to improve the lives of
individuals, families and communities facing
substance abuse and behavioral health challenges.
• MHS’ programs are publicly funded and available to
those who cannot afford privately paid services and
would be otherwise unable to receive them.
• MHS services include a broad range of prevention,
early intervention, integrated treatment, diversion and
vocational programs. MHS now operates more than
90 programs throughout California and Utah.
Mental Health Systems
• The passage of California Proposition 63 in 2004,
known as the Mental Health Services Act, enabled
MHS to expand services by implementing a variety of
new programs.
• These programs include several Assertive
Community Treatment (ACT) programs, supported
employment services, and case management for
transition age youth and older adults.
• Other expansions include veterans and military
services and permanent supportive housing for
seriously mentally ill individuals in San Diego County.
Serving Veterans, Military,
Reservists, National Guards
and Their Families
• Courage to Call is a Veteran-staffed, prevention and
early intervention program providing a 24/7 Helpline
@ 211, peer support, and outreach services to active
and former military, their families and loved ones.
• Information, referrals, and access to food, shelter,
housing; rent and utility assistance; employment;
family, legal, counseling services; VA and other
benefits; and Veterans transition services.
• Program is a collaborative partnership funded by San
Diego County, Health and Human Services Agency /
Mental Health Services, Mental Health Services Act.
Serving Homeless
• Club Vet Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program
(HVRP) provides supportive services designed and
operated by Veterans, to promote economic selfsufficiency and meaningful employment.
• Program offers a variety of vocational support and
training services; job placement, tools, and clothing
assistance; and case management for homeless
Veterans seeking to re-enter the labor force.
• Department of Labor’s HVRP, established in 1987,
provides funding for Club Vet at its East San Diego
County facility.
Housing Services –
Women and Children
• MHS’ housing services include residential treatment,
temporary and transitional placement, and permanent
supportive housing with ongoing case management.
• Family Recovery Center provides residential
treatment and transitional housing for substance
abuse recovery and improved parenting skills for up
to 90 women, with their infants and children through
the age of 10, in North San Diego County.
• Providence Place provides substance abuse
treatment and housing to female parolees and their
dependent children in Central San Diego County.
Housing Services – JusticeInvolved, Serious Mental
• Center Star Assertive Community Treatment
(ACT) provides 24-hour / 365-days per year
evidence-based, intensive treatment and housing for
adults diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and
criminal justice backgrounds, who have been
incarcerated at some time during the last year.
• Serves an additional 25 homeless adults as part of
the San Diego County Vulnerability Index Project.
• North Star Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
provides 24-hour / 365-days per year services for
mentally ill adults living in North San Diego County.
Housing Services – Serious
Mental Illness
• Center Star ACT and North Star ACT housing
services are based on a ‘housing first’ model in order
to support immediate stabilization. Temporary and
transitional placements (e.g., single room
occupancies) are used during the assessment phase.
• Permanent supportive housing is client-centered and
offered through rental subsidies (Mental Health
Services Act sponsored) and HUD-based vouchers
(Homeless Prevention, Shelter + Care, Safe Haven).
• Clients receive medications, counseling, vocational
rehabilitation, peer support, and case management.

MHS - Homelessness