Mentally Ill Patients in Fresno Face Eviction

FRESNO, Calif. Mental health patients filled this board room. They carried signs asking the county to keep Cedar Heights open. The small apartment complex in East Central Fresno houses 51-mentally ill patients. Fresno County pays for 24-hour care.

Dennis Torigian who manages the facility says he will evict the patients if the county doesn't continue to pay for onsite professionals to care for them. Torigian says most clients will go to cramped boarding homes, "Think about yourself as an adult would you like to spend the rest of your life living with a stranger? Throw mental illness on top of that and see how you do."

Torigian and his supporters came to the mental health hearing Wednesday night-begging for more tax money. Mental Health Director Donna Taylor tells me- the county doesn't have $500,000 to keep Cedar Heights running. She will ask the board of supervisors to fund the program for an extra 120- days. Taylor said, "It will also give us time to look at are there alternative funding sources to available to continue to maintain the housing."

But the funding request may come too late for Cedar Heights residents. Taylor isn't scheduled to ask supervisors for more money until late January. Existing funds run out on December 31.

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