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New Housing Facility Completed in Riverside

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RIVERSIDE

Providing Permanent and Drop-In Housing and Support Programs
for Chronically Homeless Adults 



The Riverside County Department of Mental Health announces the opening of The Place, its new 24-hour a day drop-in center and permanent housing program for chronically homeless persons with a serious mental health disorder.  Located on the City of Riverside's Homeless Multi-Service Center Campus at 2800 Hulen Place, The Place adds a new component to the continuum of housing programs that serve the population of chronically homeless adults and will serve an area that includes Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Norco and adjacent unincorporated areas of the region.   The City plans to further expand services on the campus by adding an access center.  A preview opening will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Friday, January 4, 2008, with an opening ceremony taking place at 1:30 pm on that day.

"We have looked forward to the opening of this facility for almost two years," said Jerry Wengerd, Director, Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  "The opening of The Place is a historic occasion for the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  There finally is a single 24 - 7 location in Riverside that will welcome chronically homeless individuals whose life on the streets is directly related to their serious illness." 

The Place can link drop-in center guests to emergency and transitional housing as well as provide on-site permanent housing for 25.  Guests and residents of The Place must be homeless and have a diagnosis of an impairing mental health disorder in order to qualify for services.  Semi-private rooms, laundry, showers, community and dining facilities are included on-site.  

The Place  will be operated by Jefferson Transition Programs, a non-profit organization which specializes in peer to peer services and supports.  Jefferson Transition Programs operates a variety of other programs in the Riverside and Perris areas under contract with the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.

The Place is funded with a combination of HUD and State Mental Health Services Act funds.  The Department learned last week that Riverside County has been awarded additional HUD funding to establish a similar program in the Coachella Valley. 

"This new facility is designed to engage the hardest to reach homeless adult who, despite their homelessness, have resisted efforts engage them accepting housing and begin a journey toward recovery from their illness," said Maria Marquez, Regional Manager for the Riverside County Department of Mental Health.  "The majority of The Place staff are peer counselors, many of whom have been homeless themselves.  Within one site, The Place provides the physical facility and staffing to assist people in moving from homelessness to stable, permanent housing," she continued.  "This facility is based on a model that has proven to show impressive results in establishing stable housing for a population that is typically very difficult to assist."

"We are very excited about the new opportunity to add this type of program to the Coachella Valley.  The Department has been working with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) to select the location for the new program,"  Wengerd added. "It takes a commitment from all stakeholders to find solutions to chronic homelessness, both the Riverside and Coachella Valley initiatives could not have a happened without the support and partnership of local governments such as the City of Riverside and CVAG," continued Wengerd.

For more information, contact Lynne Brockmeier at 951 / 358 - 5370.



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