Bennett Place – affordable housing for the mentally ill – opens in east Modesto

kvaline@modbee.comJuly 17, 2014 

Low-income people with mental health disabilities soon will have another place to call home with the opening of a 19-unit affordable housing complex in east Modesto.

A few dozen officials from Modesto, Stanislaus County and the Stanislaus County Affordable Housing Corp. – the project’s developer and owner – gathered Wednesday for the grand opening of Bennett Place on Lincoln Avenue. Tenants are expected to begin moving in next month.

STANCO board member Dave Cooperider said Bennett Place will provide the mentally ill with the foundation they need to build stable lives. The county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will provide tenants with case management services.

He said when the tenants succeed, that benefits the entire community because they don’t end up on the streets or getting into trouble because they have stopped taking their medications.

“This will become people’s homes,” he said. “People will be living their lives here.”

The project cost nearly $5.2 million, with about $3 million from the city through federal housing money it administers and about $2.2 million from the county through state funding it received from the Mental Health Services Act.

Bennett Place consists of eight one-bedroom apartments, 10 studio apartments and a two-bedroom apartment for the manager. It has a community center with a kitchen and manager’s office. Tenants will be low-income, with incomes of 20 percent to 30 percent of the area’s median income. Rent will be about $270 a month.

The tenants will be Behavioral Health and Recovery Services clients. BHRS staff will work with clients at Bennett Place, helping them with financial management, job skills, scheduling medical appointments and other needs. The Salvation Army will help tenants with food, utilities and other services as needed.

The complex is named after the late Bart Bennett, who served for almost two decades as a board member for Community Housing and Shelter Services and as an advisory board member of the Salvation Army Modesto Citadel Corps. The complex’s community center is named after the late Dave Meling, who served as STANCO’s executive director from 2000 to 2010.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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