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CHOICES for Community Living

Peter Alevizos, Director of the Adult System of Care
Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (ACBHCS)

Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation (that allows)
a person with a mental health issue to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice
while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
  National Consensus Conference on Mental Health Recovery and Mental Health Transformation, 2004.  

Choices for Community Living is a large scale pilot project in Alameda County’s adult mental health system. Its primary objectives are to promote wellness and recovery for mental health consumer participants and to bring about organizational transformation directly. These objectives will be accomplished by integrating evidence base practices in peer mentoring, housing, employment and care management for individuals drawn from the nearly 3,500 adults with a serious mental health disorder who are a primary target population of ACBHCS.

Choices for Community Living is one of many initiatives aligned to implement a positive vision of how recovery principles can change individuals and whole systems of care. The project works sequentially with groups of 130-260 voluntary participants currently enrolled in one of 18 County or contract operated mental health Service Teams. Choices for Community Living uses a new staff development model to support providers and catalyze the wellness/recovery culture needed by participants to meet their recovery objectives. New and existing resources along with peer and staff training will be marshaled to help motivate and support individuals and providers across the system to: (1) seek out and achieve self-defined mental health recovery objectives and (2) develop a natural community for learning and self-directed support. Resources include a housing rental subsidy, coordinated school enrollment or paid competitive employment, peer support and wellness services provided by nine to 18 peer “recovery coaches”, co-managed by least 9 “personal service coordinators” (Service Team case managers). Services are grounded in evidence based practices in the fields of “supported housing”, “peer support”, “assertive strength-based care management”, “supported education” and “supported employment.”

Choices for Community Living services will be located within existing service team program sites as well as in at least two new Recovery Education Centers to be developed in different regions of the County. The project is a collaborative effort between Alameda County Behavioral Health Care’s Vocational Program, Housing Services Office, County and contract organization MH Service Teams and the Wellness and Recovery Resiliency Hub.

The Vision of Choices is:

For more information contact: Michael Lisman, Director, Adult Community Support Centers by email at

Project Manager, Adult System of Care (CHOICES)
Criteria for Participation in CHOICES for Community Living
CHOICES Program Components: Recovery Education Centers and Housing Supports