New housing complex opens in Modesto
Bennett Place provides homes for people with mental health disabilities
The Stanislaus County Affordable Housing Corp. (STANCO) recently expanded its low-income community housing efforts with Bennett Place, a new residence complex in Modesto, Calif., for individuals with mental health disabilities.
“The project is designed to provide permanent supportive housing for folks who have mental health disabilities, and in terms of the supportive housing that means that not only do they have a safe and strong housing environment but there’s also an array of supportive services that will be available,” said Stephen Madison, executive director at STANCO and Salvation Army Modesto Citadel Corps Advisory Board member.
According to Madison, the idea for this came about a few years ago after representatives from housing agencies, the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County met to create a 10-year plan to eradicate homelessness and found that not enough housing existed for people with mental health disabilities. STANCO contributed 50 additional housing units for these efforts, 18 of which are at Bennett Place.
In addition to housing, Bennett Place provides case management through county staff and a community center offering a variety of resources including clinical assistance and training in job and life skills, such as applying for and receiving benefits and financial and household income management.
“The community center is a place where they can interact with other residents and their families, and the ultimate goal is to provide a structured environment where they can integrate into society in a way that they’re productive,” Madison said.
The city of Modesto and Stanislaus County funded the project. Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services refers residents for housing who will pay $270 in rent each month.
“Ideally, we would like to house people as long as necessary to get them to the next run of the ladder, whether they go into a different rental situation or purchase their own home,” Madison said. “We want to get them integrated back into society to where they have employment and the ability to manage their own finances, that they have their illness well in hand, and can move on with their lives.”
Bennett Place is named after former Salvation Army Modesto Citadel Advisory Board Member Bart Bennett.
“We named that complex after Bart Bennett because he was a champion for the disadvantaged in the community and a champion for affordable housing,” Madison said. “He dedicated his life to helping others and we felt that this was a fitting tribute to [him].”
The Salvation Army in Modesto will help Bennett Place tenants with various resources, including rehabilitation services, food and clothing bank services and emergency utility assistance.
Madison said he hopes that Bennett Place will not only be a housing facility, but a place for residents to develop the confidence they need to progress.
“We want to ensure that [residents] have a safe and wholesome environment where [they] will feel comfortable to live and advance on their life goals,” Madison said. “This provides stable and comfortable housing so that we can move on in addressing the other issues that they may have in their life.”