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Ventura County Perspective

A Plan to Help the Mentally Ill

March 11, 2001

We have meditated deeply for many months on the use of the county's property on Lewis Road near Camarillo. Our vision has focused on solutions for the severely mentally ill population of our county.

We strongly believe that the plan we have presented to the Board of Supervisors would be the answer to many of the problems facing mentally ill people.

However, we are keenly aware of other populations in need of social welfare services. These include the River-dwellers Aid Intercity Network (RAIN) shelter residents, single women and children without proper housing, as well as foster children and children in crisis.

We suggest the following:

* The RAIN shelter population could be housed at the Clifton Tatum Center on Hillmont Avenue in Ventura after the 150 youthful offenders currently housed there are transferred to the new juvenile justice complex being built in El Rio. The Tatum Center is in need of renovation and upgrading but it is close to public schools and child-care centers. Transportation and shopping are readily available. Needed social services are nearby.

* Children in crisis, foster children and other needy youth populations could be provided for at Casa Pacifica.

* Veterans who are mentally ill will be included in the program and services envisioned for the Lewis Road site. Those who are not mentally ill could be invited to participate in the program and even help and interact with the mentally ill as foster parents or friends. We conducted a similar program at Camarillo State Hospital called Foster Grandparents.

In summary, we envision a planned community that would beautifully serve the needs of the severely mentally ill population of Ventura County.



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