YCCC Facility Draws Complaints from Neighbors at Council Meeting

A proposed YCCC facility in Davis is drawing criticism from at least one neighbor on Tuesday night.  During public comment, a man came forward to say, “There is a home in (my) neighborhood that is potentially being re-zoned to be a group home.”

He explained, “The concern about that is the executive director who is getting that home is verbally stating that felons and mentally ill individuals – so the combination not just one or the other – will be residing quite frankly, four houses from me.”

He continued, “The absence of information as we delve more into it, is demonstrating that the group home or the municipal code for group homes, this does not fall under it.  It does not fall under group homes when felons are there.  And the executive director has already said that felons will be residing in there.”

The man asked council not to grant any permits until “all the information has been identified and resolved.”

The comment triggered a public comment response in addition to the Yolo Community Care Continuum (YCCC) providing the public with a general overview dated July 23.

Michele Kellogg, Executive Director of YCCC, said that their group has been providing services to mentally ill folks in this community for over 40 years.

“I’m committed to this community.  I care about it.  I want to improve our community,” she said.  “We are opening a new program, it is in El Macero.”

She said that they have been having conversations with the neighbors and when she has spoken with them in person and explained the program, “almost everyone has said, that sounds reasonable.”

But she is aware that there are people “who don’t want programs in their neighborhood” and “don’t want programs that help people because they’re fearful or worried or whatever that’s about.”

She said the program that they’re opening “is first of all very small.”  She said, “There’s only going to be six people there.  It will be staffed 24/7 by a wake staff.  There’s a program director.

“The people we’re accepting into the program are people that want to get well,” she added.  “These are people who, yes, committed some kind of crime – a non-violent crime.  That’s really important.  No rapists.  No child molesters.  No arsonists.  But people that because of their mental illness have done something in the community and they want to get better.”

YCCC provided a letter to the council for people wanting more information about the program.  The project does not have a name per se, but the program is referred to in the letter as New Journeys Diversion.

It is a 24-hour, seven days per week, residential program that provides diversion from incarceration “in a supportive, group living environment for adults who committed a non-violent crime due to a mental health crisis.”

The letter notes: “This is a voluntary program that provides 24-hour supervision at all times on site. A Program Director provides direct oversight of the program and Behavioral Health Specialists provide the day to day operations. The program does not accept individuals who have committed a violent felony.”

The letter goes on to explain, “Clients are referred by Solano County Behavioral Health Department. NJ can accept clients ages 18-59 and may admit one client over age 59 at a time.”

The letter keeps repeating, “NJ does not accept violent clients, those in medical detoxification, or requiring immediate medical assistance.”

In addition, “Other persons experiencing acute emotional crisis or psychotic episodes are referred to NJ after being evaluated and medically cleared for the program.”

As Ms. Kellogg indicated during her public comment, “The maximum number of residents is 6.”

The letter explains: “Residents enter into a contract between themselves and NJ which outlines client participation and treatment planning, conditions specific to the nature of the client’s crisis and compliance with house rules and expectations.

“NJ staff provides encouragement and support needed for Residents to fulfill personal contracts. The program is designed. to enlist, clients in personal treatment plans and processes. Clients are required to participate in household and grounds chores and up-keep to the best of their ability, and to participate. in group and individual counseling sessions.

“Emphasis is placed on defining and addressing treatment issues and planning for the immediate future; mobilizing appropriate community, family, and personal resources.”

As part of the structured treatment program, “New Journeys provides groups and activities daily.”

In her comment, Ms. Kellogg indicated that they try to set up their clients to have success in the community and “they return to the community that they came from.”

She said, “We believe that people with mental health issues deserve a chance to get well.  We’re here to serve them.”

She added, “We have a tremendous track record in this community of success.”

In their letter, they noted, “We are very responsive to the community and try our best to resolve any issues that occur: We are respectful of the properties that we rent and have a good track record with landlords and neighbors. I would be happy to meet with neighbors and give them my information in case there are things that they have concerns about.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Alan Pryor

    The letter goes on to explain, “Clients are referred by Solano County Behavioral Health Department.

    So why is Solano Co referring patients to Yolo Co for mental health care?

    1. Alan Miller

      So why is Solano Co referring patients to Yolo Co for mental health care?

      Wow, good catch on that one, Mr. Namesake.  Perhaps there’s been a slat removed from the border wall just south of Pacifico.  What we need is a sturdier border wall between Yolo and Solano Counties — and make Fairfield pay for it!

    2. Robert Canning

      Alan(s) – programs like these are few and far between. The fact it is in Davis is only because that’s where YCCC has an available program. YCCC is not a Yolo County agency. It is an independent provider. Solano County can make use of the appropriate services no matter where they are. For instance, if a Yolo County resident needed inpatient psychiatric treatment and there were no beds available at Woodland Hospital, they would be referred elsewhere.

  2. Alan Miller

    But she is aware that there are people “who don’t want programs in their neighborhood” and “don’t want programs that help people because they’re fearful or worried or whatever that’s about.”

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!  It’s the ‘fear of change’ argument wrapped in a different blanket.  Slightly condescending, a bit ‘we-know-better-than-you-ish, painting those with concerns as ‘fearful’.  Straight out of the playbook.  Almost as if to say that those who are concerned by facilities dealing with mental health are themselves suffering from slightly-impaired mental health themselves, such as unwarranted ‘fear’.

    It will be staffed 24/7 by a wake staff.

    As opposed to a sleeping staff?

    No rapists.  No child molesters.  No arsonists.

    Keep going . . . I’d rather hear examples of crimes that were committed, not ones that were not.  While it’s good to know my daughter won’t be raped, my child won’t be molested, and my house won’t be burned down, I’ve found in California, some of the things legally defined as ‘non-violent’ are not things I would define as non-violent.

    NJ can accept clients ages 18-59 and may admit one client over age 59 at a time.”

    That makes me feel better.  I’d be fearful with too many old people in one place.

    The project does not have a name per se, but the program is referred to in the letter as New Journeys Diversion.

    Um, that’s a name.

    1. David Greenwald

      “As opposed to a sleeping staff?”

      Yes. As I understand it, there are two ways to run 24 hour staffing. One is to have the staffer stay on the shift all day and go to sleep. The other is to have shifts so there is staff awake around the clock. This is the latter.

  3. David Greenwald

    A little more information – the city does not have the ability to stop the group from using the home…

    From the city: “Upon learning of the proposed group home use being established in south Davis, staff contacted the Executive Director, Michelle Kellogg from Yolo Community Care Continuum (YCCC) to determine the nature of the use.  After investigating the use of the home, staff found that the description meets the definition of a group care home for persons who are mentally disordered or otherwise handicapped persons, as defined by our Zoning Ordinance and by the State of California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5116. The State of California mandates that the City of Davis treat group care homes in the same manner as any other single-family residential use. Pursuant to state law, the City of Davis cannot prohibit or close the group home.”

    1. Ron Oertel

      From article, above:    It does not fall under group homes when felons are there.  And the executive director has already said that felons will be residing in there.”

      By the way, where is this place, how is it funded, and (getting back to Alan P.’s question), why is Solano county referring patients to Yolo county?

      (The article mentions El Macero.)

      1. Eric Gelber

        The quoted language is an assertion of the neighbor; it’s not the law. This would be a licensed residential treatment facility for individuals with mental disorders who have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor for conduct related to their mental disorder, but they are not felons. The purpose of pretrial diversion is to provide a therapeutic alternative to criminal conviction.

        Moreover, a licensed residential care facility for people with disabilities may have residents with prior criminal backgrounds. That doesn’t mean they don’t “fall under group homes” as the neighbor erroneously asserts.


    2. Robert Canning

      YCCC is a private provider of services. NGOs like YCCC provide services to clients from many counties. This one just happens to be located in Davis and Solano County has a contract with YCCC for these services. This is not at all odd in the social services realm. Not every county has the resources to provide needed services so agencies can send folks to programs elsewhere. As Eric Gelber points out, this is a diversion program that aims to keep people with serious mental illness out of the criminal justice system. Here in Yolo County, we have a Mental Health Court that also works to keep the mentally ill out of jail/prison.

  4. Eric Gelber

    State and federal fair housing laws prohibit local government from discriminating against congregate living arrangements for people with disabilities through its land use and zoning policies or actions; so, it’s not clear what this neighbor expects the Council might do. While fair housing law does not protect individuals who present a direct threat to the persons or property of others, this must be determined on an individualized basis, and can’t be based on general assumptions or speculation about the nature of a disability.

    This YCCC program is described as a diversion program for people with mental disorders, which would mean the prospective residents have been charged with nonviolent crimes but have not been convicted. To qualify for diversion, the court must determine that a mental disorder was a significant factor in the commission of the charged offense. The court must also determine that the individual does not pose an unreasonable risk of public safety if treated in the community. (Penal Code 1001.36.)

  5. David Greenwald

    Posted for Jean Miller:

    My son was placed at YCCC’s Farmhouse, and years later was voluntarily admitted to Safe Harbor.
    YCCC’s care could hardly be worse.

    At the Farmhouse I discovered the patient had no bed, just a 3″ mat covered in dirt, ragged and torn, lying on the floor. It had apparently come from the barn where animals were kept.
    Staff were good looking, but untrained. The “cook” didn’t know how to cook and asked me how to cook a large roast less than an hour before dinner.

    Parents were not allowed to see their adult children’s rooms, but one day a young female staffer had a screaming rampage and I decided to slip away to a safer place, i.e., into my son’s bedroom. That’s when I discovered he had no bed.

    I’ve forgotten what the conservator was paying for each client, but it was quite expensive.
    The front door entry was so covered in goose droppings that it was never used.
    There was virtually no program or counseling offered in spite of YCCC’s claim that lots of services were provided.

    My son requires more sleep than most people, but management at YCCC decided to force him to stay up late, and wake up early. We finally had our attorney meet with YCCC management and they reluctantly agreed to let the patient go to bed early. But, violating the spirit of the agreement, they immediately began forcing the patient to be up a few hours earlier in the morning so he would still be sleep deprived. Management appeared to be dangerously obsessive compulsive.

    Years later at Safe Harbor, staff lost the patient’s medication less than 48 hours after he was admitted. Making this more ridiculous, staff had taken the patient to the County doctor, earlier in the day, but hid the fact that they’d lost the medication and needed a refill. Likewise, they did not tell me they needed more medication. Instead, they called an ambulance to take the patient to the hospital. $$$ There were also problems with the kitchen being filthy and general lack of supervision, so patients so inclined could wander away from the facility.

    I arranged an appointment in Sacramento with State Licensing to review the file on Safe Harbor and found countless violations and complaints. At one point the State required Safe Harbor to close for 2 days so staff could attend training on handling medications. Even so, problems with lost medications had continued.

    Though staff and management look good and talk fast, YCCC’s care has been abysmal and dangerous for many, many years.

  6. Jean Miller

    Yes, one has to wonder where the money is really going.  For all the public money coming in, there’s not much to show for it.  “Counselors”, for example, may have virtually no real qualifications at all and are paid very little.

    State Licensing might want to look at the history of YCCC before issuing a license for this proposed new facility.

  7. Alan Miller

    I’m sure the concerned neighbor’s mind is totally at ease after reading the above story and having the woman from YCCC say, obtusely referring to him and those neighbors sharing his concerns:

    there are people “who don’t want programs in their neighborhood” and “don’t want programs that help people because they’re fearful or worried or whatever that’s about.”

    Patronizing much? — might want to work on thy community outreach skills, including attributing motives not in evidence.

  8. Sharla Cheney

    I think Jean Miller’s post is very unfair.  I’ve been to the Farmhouse and did not see anything that she describes.

    Due to confidentiality laws, they will likely never respond to these specific allegations.  If Jean was looking for full-time, sterile, secure, hospital / institutional setting for her adult son where he can sleep, then she should have never had him placed in a program designed to foster social skills, responsibility and work experience and enables people to transition to living independently as a contributing member of the community. The “staff” she refers to were likely residents of the program and her judgement of them is misplaced.

    1. Robert Canning

      YCCC has been a provider of services for seriously mentally ill clients for years. They run a variety of programs. Their website explains what they do: http://y3c.org/about_us.aspx. Since the Vanguard is not Yelp, you could contact Yolo NAMI to find out if the programs YCCC offer have value. Not having had personal experience with YCCC but having served on the Yolo Mental Health Board for ten years, I never heard scathing reviews of YCCC while I sat on the Board. My hunch is that many have had good experiences with loved ones who used YCCC services and some have not.

      Criticizing the Vanguard because commenters have opposite opinions seems a bit gratuitous Alan. As if people did not know your opinions already.

      (Disclaimer: I sit on the Vanguard Board of Directors)

      1. Alan Miller

        Criticizing the Vanguard because commenters have opposite opinions seems a bit gratuitous Alan.


        As if people did not know your opinions already.

        Who knows my opinions?  I state fake ones, or channel former commenters, or give the opinion of cartoon Alan, who is a fragment of my imagination. Sometimes I channel myself, which can really be a challenge when myself is already channeling me.

  9. Jean Miller

    Re Sharla’s comments, the staff person was NOT a resident but a paid YCCC staff member, though obviously unqualified for the job.

    The female staffer who had a screaming rampage was also a paid YCCC staff member, not a client.  The other staff person on that shift later quit and told me when I met him working elsewhere, that there was so much dysfunction, such as I witnessed, that he couldn’t stand working for YCCC any longer.

    “Social skills, responsibility, and work experience”:  Those are laudable ideas/goals, and I too was impressed, ’til I found they were not actually happening at the Farmhouse.

    Re Robert Canning’s experience:  Likewise, I have not heard about problems with YCCC.  But after what I observed first hand, I took the time to review the state licensing file and was dumbfounded that so many seriously mentally ill people had taken their time, and made the effort, to file  serious complaints.        Also in the file were records of state inspections of Safe Harbor and as I noted above the state’s inspectors cited filthy conditions in the kitchen, major problems with missing medications, and a variety of other deficiencies.

    Perhaps the Mental Health Board would benefit by setting up a way for folks to submit anonymous complaints to the Board.  Or the Board could routinely review state licensing files on the various facilities in the County.

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