Our Vision
We all know how important it is to have a home—somewhere to feel safe and secure and develop roots to grow. It’s no surprise that stable housing and recovery go hand-in-hand. Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA) wants our community to understand that people with mental health challenges deserve to live in a home they love. A supportive housing project must represent hope, growth and security. Our clients want to be part of their community, and TMHA builds housing that is meant to be a worthy addition to every neighborhood.

The Project
Bishop Street Studios is a remarkable opportunity to take a renowned building that has been left in disrepair for decades and turn it into a valuable community resource. Above all, it is an opportunity to become the community we are meant to be: healthy, balanced and inclusive. The old Sunny Acres Orphanage above Johnson Avenue has been abandoned for 40 years. The Bishop Street Studios project will cover full renovation of the original 1931 building along with the addition of three new structures. TMHA will create 34 one-person units of affordable housing for adults living with mental illness.

Bishop Street Studios will:

  • Provide supportive permanent housing, an elemental part of our mission.
  • Build independent housing close to existing services and transit.
  • Preserve the existing building and its unique architecture.
  • Enhance the surrounding neighborhood through eradication of crime and blight associated with this abandoned site.
  • Increase the amount of housing for adults living with mental illness in the City of San Luis Obispo by nearly 30%.

Designing the Project
This is not the first time TMHA has refurbished an old building to bolster the affordable housing market. Four years ago, the agency purchased and renovated a house on Nipomo Street near downtown San Luis Obispo. That project now provides permanent supportive housing for eight residents. TMHA is working with the same design firm, Ten Over Studio, to refine plans that will ensure Bishop Street Studios is both attractive and affordable.

Funding the Project
To make Bishop Street Studios a reality, TMHA has partnered with the Housing Authority of the City of San Luis Obispo (HASLO), a prominent force in the creation of local affordable housing since 1968. “This is an incredibly important project for our community, and HASLO is proud to be a part of it,” said Scott Smith, HASLO Executive Director. “Just imagine the hope it represents for those in need, and the peace it offers to family members, knowing that their loved one will have an affordable, supportive place to live.” Together, TMHA and HASLO will fund the estimated $8 million project through a combination of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, State Mental Health Service Housing Funds, the Affordable Housing Fund through the Federal Home Loan Bank, and local donations.