Interim was founded in 1975 by mental health professionals, community members, and client families who saw a need for community-based alternatives to institutional care for people with psychiatric disabilities. In the 70s, California was closing or scaling back State Mental Hospitals, and people were being released into the community without services, housing, or support. Some of Interim’s early residents had been in State Mental Hospitals and some had received treatment in acute care faculties. Our first project was a 12-bed halfway house in Monterey, developed in 1976. The following year, we opened a second halfway house in Salinas.
Interim has extensive experience with development and operation of housing for adults with major psychiatric disabilities, but we didn’t start out as a housing developer! We quickly recognized, however, that our clients needed safe and affordable housing as they recovered from mental illness. At first, we leased large houses where people could live in a cooperative group setting after they completed residential treatment programs. When we determined that the need for safe, supportive, affordable housing for adults with mental illness could not be met with leased housing, we began to purchase and rehabilitate older housing in the community and to build new housing. Since 1986, we have successfully developed 18 housing and treatment facility projects (including 28 treatment beds) and affordable permanent, transitional and emergency housing spread throughout Monterey County.
In the early 80s, Interim branched out in to vocational services, creating the Sunflour Cookie Company to provide vocational experiences for our clients. Although the business was eventually sold, we opened a second program in 1996, Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES), to help our clients find educational opportunities and meaningful work. Our efforts to create supportive employment opportunities for our clients were recognized in December 2009 when the State Department of Rehabilitation named Interim as an “Employer of the Year.”
In the mid-1980s, Interim created the Our Voices program, our first peer-led social support group for adults with mental illness. This program is open to the public and provides peer-counseling, self-help groups, recreational programs, and holiday events for adults with psychiatric disabilities.
In 2002, Interim partnered with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI– Monterey County) to provide outreach and support for family members of those with mental illness. NAMI is a non-profit, grassroots, charitable, volunteer, self-help, support and advocacy organization for people with psychiatric disabilities, their families, and friends.
That year, we also opened MCHOME to provide outreach and support services for homeless adults with mental illness in collaboration with Monterey County Behavioral Health. MCHOME provides intensive integrated services and housing for homeless adults with mental illness to move them off the streets and into housing and treatment.
With the passage of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, Interim was able to offer several new programs. In 2006, we opened a new 20-unit housing project with intensive support services designed to help homeless clients with mental illness who had difficulty in maintaining housing, Lupine Gardens. We also opened the OMNI Resource Center in Salinas, a peer-operated wellness and recovery program, and expanded vocational services to serve transitional age youth (TAY).
In 2007, we added a Dual Recovery Services day program designed to help those in recovery from both mental illness and substance abuse disorders and expanded our homeless services, outreach, and housing.
In April 2009, we broke ground at Sunflower Gardens. Sunflower Gardens opened in June 2010 and has been named the first affordable supportive housing project in California to earn Platinum certification (the top award) under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the US Green Building Council.
The Pajaro Street Wellness Center in Salinas was recently renovated and will house Supported Education and Employment Services (SEES), the OMNI Resource Center, Dual Recovery Services, Success Over Stigma, and the Breakthrough H’art project, as well as other creative arts activities. The Monterey County Behavioral Health Collaborative (the Bienestar Project) and NAMI Monterey County will also have be providing services and support on-site for clients and their families in the Salinas Valley.
The Grand Opening for the center was late August 2014.
In October 2013, Interim broke ground on Rockrose Gardens, our latest project to provide permanent, affordable supportive housing for adults with mental illness.
Rockrose Gardens is located in Marina, and it will open in December 2014.