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City of SLO awards $850K for housing for adults with mental illness

Sunny Acres, once an orphanage and later a county-run juvenile detention center, has been vacant for more than 40 years. It’s the site of a planned affordable housing project for tenants living with mental illness.
Sunny Acres, once an orphanage and later a county-run juvenile detention center, has been vacant for more than 40 years. It’s the site of a planned affordable housing project for tenants living with mental illness. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo City Council awarded $850,000 Tuesday night to the Bishop Street Studios housing development project that’s planned for adults with mental illness. The site is at 1600 Bishop St. above Johnson Avenue.

Money for the award comes from the city’s Affordable Housing Funds, generated from private developers who paid fees in lieu of including affordable housing within their projects under the City’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.

The Bishop Street Studios project began in 2014, when Transitions-Mental Health Association agreed to purchase the former Sunny Acres Orphanage with plans to restore the structure, which has been abandoned for 40 years.

In September, the project was unanimously approved by the Architectural Review Commission and Cultural Heritage Committee. The project was appealed to the City Council, but the appeal was denied in November and the project is moving forward.

TMHA has partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of San Luis Obispo to raise money and assist with development of the $8 million project, which is funded through a combination of sources, including state, federal and private funds.

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