What about the building?

The 4 story brown building on the corner of 5th and Elm in Long Beach was built in 1922 and was originally the AT&T Overseas Operator Building. After the Long Beach Earthquake in 1933 the building was rebuilt and continued to be used as a telephone operator’s building.

The building stood vacant for a while and was purchased in the 1980s for conversion to an office building; the developer improved the building seismically but did not complete the project.

MHA bought the vacant property on January 2, 1990 to use as the site for the Village.






 Your support helps those with mental illness live with quality and equality.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is this place?
What is a member?
How do I become a member?
How can they help me?
Do I have to pay for service?
Do people live at the Village?
Where do Village members live?
Can MHA Village help me with my SSI?
How is MHA Village Funded?
How do I get a job here?
What does an average day look like for a staff person?
How do I visit/tour the Village?
What is the MHA in MHA Village?

What is this place?  The MHA Village has earned national acclaim and honors for its innovation and is a model for changing mental health care particularly in California (which passed Proposition 63, now the Mental Health Services Act) and throughout the world.

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What is a member?  At MHA Village we refer to our clients as members. We place a strong emphasis on language and we intentionally choose words that are empowering and respectful. The word member implies a sense of ownership and belonging that encourages Village members to feel a part of their recovery.

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How do I become a member?  The Village Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) is the entryway for membership. There is a “no wrong door” approach in HAP and anyone who is interested in receiving services should feel free to come during drop-in center hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

No appointments necessary or available. Services are delivered on a walk in basis.

Before coming, please review the information below to better understand the eligibility criteria for enrollment.

The requirements for Village membership are:

1. Adult (18 years or older) living in the Long Beach area 

2. Axis I diagnosis (schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, major depression)
3. Unserved, underserved (i.e. needs more intense services), or inappropriately served (i.e. culturally inappropriate services)

In addition, one (or more) of the following must apply within the last 12 months:

  • Institutionalized* (Institute of Mental Disease or State Hospital)
  • Several county hospitalizations*
  • Persistently homeless
  • Incarcerated*
  • In imminent risk (without family support)
  • Frequent user of urgent care clinics

*Note: Requests for enrollment for people coming from state hospitals, IMDs, jails, and county hospitals must be referred through the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health adult navigators. For more information, please contact the Long Beach/South Bay Geographic Initiative at (562) 435-3037.

Please understand that the staff at MHA Village partner with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health to determine eligibility of potential members. If you would like more specific information about Village enrollment eligibility criteria, please call Gary Odom at (562) 437-6717 ext. 342, or email him.

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How can they help me? Wow, that’s a big question. Let’s start at the beginning. Check out the information on how to become a member and visit the Homeless Assistance Program. If it determines that MHA Village can’t help you, our staff will refer you someplace that can. If MHA Village can help you, then you will work with us to develop a plan to get the help you want and need.

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Do I have to pay for service?  No. MHA Village services are funded entirely by the sources below. We do not accept private pay.

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Do people live at the Village?  No. The MHA Village is not a residential program.

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Where do Village members live?  Up to 60 percent of Village members live in their own homes or apartments. Their lifestyle is supported by their own employment wages, benefits, or special program funding/grants. The remaining 40 percent live in supported housing environments like board and care homes or with family members. For more information about housing, please visit the housing page in the Programs & Services section.

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Can MHA Village help me with my SSI?  Persons seeking help are encouraged to visit the Homeless Assistance Program drop-in center to assess their needs.

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How is MHA Village Funded?  The Village is funding primarily as a Full Service Partnership through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) and Medi-Cal. For more information about Full Service Partnerships (FSPs), please visit the LA County MHSA website and click on the "Full Service Partnerships" link under the correct age group heading.

The Village Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) is funded by a variety of different sources including the City of Long Beach, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Federal PATH Program.

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How do I get a job here?  That depends. If you are a mental health professional looking for a permanent position at MHA Village please visit the Careers section of this site for more information. If you are an MHA Village member or a consumer of mental health services at another local angecy who is authorized to receive employment services from the Department of Rehabilitation you may be interested in working in one of our agency-owned businesses. For more information, please contact Village Employment Operations Manager, Bob Ramos, at (562) 437-6717, extension 227.

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What does an average day look like for a staff person?  "There are no average days. That is the beauty of my job," says Erin Von Fempe, Deputy Director of MHA Village Long Beach Programs. Because services at the Village are member driven, each day can be completely unique. Staff members attend different team meetings to collaborate with their coworkers, they meet individually and in pairs or small groups with members to work on goals, and they document their interactions with members for billing and record keeping purposes.

"Everyday is an anything can happen day." - Joe Ruiz, Director of Training & Workforce Development

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Want to Tour the Village?

The Village offers a three-hour Mini Immersion once per month for individuals or groups who would like to learn more about our philosophy and the services we provide to our members.

What you will experience during your visit:

  • Attendance at the Village Community Meeting: Our Town hall meeting where staff, members and the community come together to talk about their accomplishments, challenges and happenings
  • An hour-long discussion about the Village philosophy
  • A tour of the Village covers our unique team dynamics, services provided and employment services. Tour guides are our Personal Service Coordinators and staff from the Training and Workforce Development team who volunteer as guides
  • After the tour, you may join us in our member run Deli 456 for lunch which can be purchased for $ 6 to $10 per person (we accept Visa, MasterCard and cash). The tour is free but we appreciate your support in helping us keep these tours going.

Your visit will happen while Village services are being provided. To limit the impact on the program and to ensure staff availability for the tour, reservations are required.

For reservations: Contact Kristina Esquivel at kesquivel@mhala.org or you may call at (562)285-1330 x 1051.

Cancellations: Please cancel reservations and group tours at least 48 hours in advance of your reservation, since this affects our staffing schedule.

Please note that these trainings fill up fast and space is limited!

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What is the MHA in MHA Village?  MHA stands for Mental Health America. MHA Village is a program of Mental Health America of Los Angeles, a service, education, training and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the mental health care of all people. For more information about MHA, please visit www.mhala.org

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