“Housing Heroes” to be Honored at September 30th Ceremony

County Recognizes Heroes Who Help People Struggling with Mental Illness and Substance Use to Avoid Homelessness

SAN MATEO — Finding affordable housing in San Mateo County is more challenging than ever, especially for people who are low-income, have a mental or physical disability, or are recovering from a substance use disorder. On September 30th, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will honor individuals who have helped to find stable housing for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.

According to the County’s Center on Homelessness, an estimated 37 percent of the County’s unsheltered homeless population has a mental illness and 72 percent has a substance use disorder. When the Housing Heroes award was created in 2008, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the county was $1,583 per month. Today, that same apartment would rent for $2,238 – an over 40% increase. The work of “Housing Heroes” is more important than ever.

“Safe, affordable homes provide people with the opportunity to recover, maintain good health, and along with job training, employment and support services, achieve other important life goals,” said Stephen Kaplan, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “Housing Heroes shines a light on the men and women whose compassion helps support others in continuing on the path to wellness and recovery.”

San Mateo County Change Agent Housing Committee has selected the following recipients as the 2014 Housing Heroes:

  • Nikki Adams, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Judy Dell’Ara, San Mateo County Housing Authority
  • Martha Irizarry, Latino Commission
  • Melissa Platte, San Mateo County Mental Health Association
  • Jasmina Ragoobeer, Board and Care Operator
  • Bertha Sanchez, San Mateo Property Manager

The awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, September 30 from 3:00 to 4:30pm at the Redwood Shores Library, Community Room, 399 Marine Parkway, Redwood City. The event is free and open to the public.  See the flyer for details.