• The Charles Cobb House Courtesy Skid Row Housing Trust
  • The Charles Cobb House Courtesy Skid Row Housing Trust
  • The Charles Cobb House Courtesy Skid Row Housing Trust

HR&A worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) to design and implement the County’s Mental Health Services Act Housing Program.

The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program is a voter-approved initiative charged with expanding mental health services in the state of California. Among its many initiatives is a funding allocation to each county to provide predevelopment and permanent financing and capitalized operating subsidies for new permanent supportive housing for persons with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Through HR&A’s work, $111.9 million has been committed so far to 30 affordable housing developments to date, with about half the projects either completed or under construction.

Projects selected for funding will leverage another $408.0 million from other sources to produce 1,375 units of affordable housing, of which 716 are targeted to MSHA Housing Program clients. New permanent supportive affordable housing, targeted to a range of populations – including seniors, families, and transitional-age youth – will be developed in all five Supervisorial Districts and nearly all of the County’s eight mental health services areas.

Since 2007, HR&A has worked with DMH to:

  • Plan the Los Angeles County MHSA Housing Program,
  • Design the local project application review process,
  • Review Letters of Interest from affordable housing developers for consistency with adopted funding priorities,
  • Review the financial feasibility of individual projects,
  • Respond to project financing issues raised by the California Housing Finance Agency (the loan underwriter),
  • Improve coordination among local public affordable housing funders, and
  • Trouble-shoot issues as they arise during the the complex process each developer undertakes to package the necessary project financing.

The program’s administrative process has helped to improve coordination between, and maximize use of resources available from, multiple County affordable housing programs and those administered by other local public funders, including the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Housing Department and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.