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Fact Check: More than $100M for Mental Health Is Sitting in the Bank (2017)

by Lisa Halverstadt | November 3, 2017

Statement: “The county of San Diego is holding over $100 million in unspent Mental Health Services Act funds,” state Sen. Ben Hueso said at an Oct. 12 press conference where Democrats and labor leaders called on county supervisors to spend more to combat the region’s homelessness and hepatitis A crises.

Determination: True

Analysis: Democrats and homeless advocates have long called on the county to invest more of its ample cash in programs to aid San Diegans struggling with homelessness and mental illness.

State Sen. Ben Hueso is one Democratic leader ratcheting up those pleas in the wake of a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that’s highlighted the region’s homelessness crisis. Hueso claimed at an October press conference that the county’s got plenty of cash to throw at the problem. He zeroed in on money the county gets from Prop. 63, a voter-approved 1 percent tax on millionaires meant to bankroll mental health services.

“They’re sitting on over $100 million with a $42 million reserve for who knows what reason,” Hueso said.

We decided to fact check Hueso’s claims given the growing calls on the county to spend more, particularly as campaigns to replace two long-sitting county supervisors ramp up.

So is the county sitting on more than $100 million, plus a $42 million reserve? Yes.

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