October 26, 2015

Bias and Funding Struggles Stall Plan for Calif. Mental-Health Residence

The Los Angeles Times reports on a planned nonprofit mental-health housing facility in rural California that has faced roadblocks due to budget woes and community opposition based on prejudice against people with mental illness.

Two women active in local mental-health advocacy formed a nonprofit and raised $600,000 to build a farm-based residential treatment center on 10 acres of land in Contra Costa County. But nearby residents worried that the patients would be a threat to the community and that their property values near the site would decline.

As backers raised more money, Bonita House, a local nonprofit that had agreed to develop and manage the facility, unexpectedly backed out in August, citing concern that there would be too little funding to sustain the program. The change meant forfeiting a promised government grant. Now, more than a decade since fundraising began, project proponents are urging Bonita House to return the donated money and land.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly use the word "stigma" to mean bias against people with mental illness.