Homeless Man - Photo courtesy of MNLA staff

A state grant totaling $29.5 million was awarded to Riverside County for the construction of nearly 150 apartments reserved for mentally ill individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of it, county officials announced Tuesday.

“This is one of the most significant investments in affordable housing that Riverside County has ever seen,” Housing, Homelessness Prevention & Workforce Solutions Department Director Heidi Marshall said. “This is important because it will provide much-needed, supportive housing, wrap-around services and stability to the most vulnerable residents in our community.”

The California Department of Housing & Community Development disbursed the “No Place Like Home” grant in its latest round of awards.

According to Marshall, the funds will be used for construction of 147 supportive permanent housing units within established affordable housing complexes in Coachella, Riverside and Wildomar.

Work on the buildings is slated to begin in 2024.

“Residents of the supportive housing units will receive services, including mental health care, substance use disorder support, physical health care and referrals to additional resources,” according to an HHPWS statement.

The No Place Like Home program was established following the passage of legislation signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, authorizing up to $2 billion in state bond sales to pay for housing to shelter individuals with mental health disorders living on the streets or facing chronic homelessness due to an inability to govern their own affairs.

Proposition 63 surtaxes, approved by voters in 2004, also fund the program.

“Changing lives requires significant, dedicated investment into each individual,” Dr. Matthew Chang, director of Behavioral Health for the Riverside University Health System, said. “Here, individuals will find the behavioral health resources and support they need, such as case management, peer support services, mental health care, substance use disorder support and physical health care.”

According to officials, the county intends to form partnerships with three developers to construct the new units.

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