Three formerly homeless youth accepted into universities

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Photo DBH: In 2016 Roland was sleeping on the streets of Victorville before he visited a county Transitional Age Youth Center. Today, Roland, 24, is celebrating his recovery from mental health and substance use disorder and his graduation from Valley College and acceptance to Cal State University’s School of Nursing.
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In 2016, Roland was young man sleeping on the streets of Victorville. The effects of Roland’s untreated mental illness and his substance use disorder resulted in broken relationships and homelessness. His life changed the day he decided to visit the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) High Desert Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Center. Behavioral health staff conducted an assessment and guided him into treatment. Today, Roland, 24, is not only celebrating his recovery from a mental health and substance use disorder, but his graduation from San Bernardino Valley College and acceptance into California State University San Bernardino School of Nursing.

Perhaps even more inspiring is that although Roland’s story may be extraordinary, it is not unique. This year alone San Bernardino County celebrated the recovery of two other formerly homeless youth who participated in TAY programs and have since graduated from community college and been accepted into four-year universities. Amir, 25, is attending Cal State San Bernardino and Wolfie, 21, is attending the University of California, Riverside.

The success of these programs is due in part to their ability to provide intensive behavioral health services, case management services, and in many instances, permanent supportive housing, all of which are funded in part by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Other services and supports include peer support groups, medication, housing, employment, and reduced- to no- college tuition.

“MHSA allows counties like San Bernardino to develop programs like TAY that are specifically tailored to the unique needs of the community and those we serve,” said DBH Director Veronica Kelley. “TAY programs engage youth into appropriate treatment, reduce hospitalizations and/or involvement in the criminal justice system, reduces homelessness, and supports the next generation through personal connections that build and strengthen the resilience needed to succeed in life.”

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TAY services are provided in coordination with the San Bernardino County Department of Children’s and Family Services, Probation, contractor providers, and other community partners. For more information on TAY services, call (909) 387-7194 (dial 7-1-1 for TTY users).

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