Letter to the Editor

TMHA’s flawed plan

San Luis ObispoJune 9, 2014 

Sometimes even a really good organization can have a very bad idea. Transitions-Mental Health Association’s plan to build housing behind the General Hospital building is clearly flawed.

First, because the county didn’t solicit proposals from other local organizations, TMHA acquired the property in a way inequitable to the rest of the community. Second, TMHA acquired the property for $100, but plans to spend millions in renovations and construction — instead of purchasing existing housing. This is an inefficient, costly and inappropriate use of taxpayer monies. Third, TMHA hasn’t completed a project of this magnitude. Even TMHA’s 2009 complex in Lompoc does not prove viable longevity. Fourth, THMA wants to build mid-to high-density units on a lot surrounded by single-family, low-density housing — something entirely inconsistent with the neighborhood. Fifth, TMHA acknowledges its residents would likely have criminal histories. Considering the high rate of recidivism, this is worrisome for the neighborhood. Lastly, this facility would house up to 35 people with mild to substantial mental illness. These individuals can pose serious risks if they fail to take medication or follow treatment. Multiply that risk by 35; it seems unethical to impose on nearby residents. Considering everything, it’s no wonder the community has objections to TMHA’s plans.

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