Marin County is set to open its first residential treatment center in October for adults living with mental illness, according to the county officials.

Marin County has a mental health crisis center in Larkspur but no therapeutic residential care. The 16-bed center in San Rafael will assist adults with serious and persistent mental health disorders and is a project created in partnership with Marin County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and the Progress Foundation.

According to the county, the center will create localized care for people who have previously had to go as far as Southern California for similar care.

The Board of Supervisors approved the project at 920 Grand Ave. In San Rafael in January 2021. Development expenses are estimated at nearly $6 million, according to the county. A bulk of the money will come from the general fund and continued operating costs will be paid in part through Medi-Cal funds.

The focus is on client-centered, normalizing care in a home-like setting with chores, socialization, and round-the-clock health services. The program is designed specifically to remediate the effects of repeated institutionalization and to develop “critically needed” interpersonal skills, according to the county.

The Progress Foundation is a nonprofit that operates 19 social rehabilitation residential treatment facilities across San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma counties.

“We believe treatment for serious mental illness and associated social challenges occurs best in a planned social-relational situation,” said Steve Fields, the organization’s executive director. “The therapeutic value of everyday, normalized experiences, like meals and chores, helps clients build skills and healthy relationships with each other and our staff. Our services are individualized and offered in a way that teaches and enhances movement toward increased self-sufficiency.”

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.