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This SLO affordable housing project just got a $100,000 boost

Abandoned Sunny Acres in SLO to become housing for mental health clients

Construction is set to begin by March 2018 to transform the abandoned and storied brick Sunny Acres building in San Luis Obispo into affordable housing units for adults receiving mental health services with Transitions-Mental Health Association. H
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Construction is set to begin by March 2018 to transform the abandoned and storied brick Sunny Acres building in San Luis Obispo into affordable housing units for adults receiving mental health services with Transitions-Mental Health Association. H

A $100,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation will help fund Bishop Street Studios, a affordable housing complex under construction in San Luis Obispo.

Local nonprofit Transitions-Mental Health Association received the grant on June 26.

Bishop Street Studios, a 34-unit complex at 1720 Bishop St., will offer one-person apartments for mentally ill residents. The housing project includes the former Sunny Acres orphanage.

The Hearst Foundation grant money will go toward Bishop Street Studios’ community room, which will occupy what was once the Sunny Acres lobby, according to Michael Kaplan, TMHA fund development manager. TMHA plans to dedicate the room in the Hearst Foundation’s honor.

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“The community room will just be a fantastic room for neighbors to gather,” Kaplan said.

The room will also be used for programs such as anger management workshops and financing workshops, he said, adding that the types of programs offered will depend on the tenants’ needs.

Bishop Street Studios is expected to open at the end of summer or in early fall in 2019.

2018 is the first year TMHA has received a grant from the Hearst Foundation, whose namesake and founder, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, built a lavish home, Hearst Castle, in San Simeon.

In 2018, the foundation had a $38.8 million grant budget and received more than 1,000 applications, said Teri Yeager, Hearst Foundation senior program officer Teri Yeager. Approximately 20 percent of those applicants will receive funding, she said.

According to its website, the foundation prioritizes funding for social service support programs that “have proven successful in facilitating economic independence and in strengthening families.”

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San Luis Obispo housing project Bishop Street Studios , which includes the former Sunny Acres building, will have 34 one-person units for people with mental illness. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

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