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In 1963 the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act (P.L. 88-164) authorized $329 million over a five year period to provide "grants for construction of mental retardation facilities; grants for training professional personnel in the education of the handicapped and grants for conducting research relating to the education of the handicapped."

The Mental Retardation Amendments of 1967 (P.L. 90-170) provided a new grant program to pay a portion of the costs for "compensation of professional and technical personnel in community facilities." By the end of 1968, $65 million of the P.L. 88-164 funds went to the construction of 18 University Affiliated Facilities and 12 Mental Retardation Research Centers.

On the other hand, $48 million went to the federal share of 242 projects under the Community Facilities Construction Program. The projects were to serve 63,000 people, 24,000 of whom had not previously received services.

Book Cover: Mental Retardation Construction Program
Groundbreaking Ceremony
Photo from a report -
courtesy MHMR Construction

The so-called Community Facilities included 7 diagnostic and evaluation projects, 122 day centers, 66 combined day and residential facilities, and 66 residential facilities.

The grants went to public and non-profit organizations, including State and Special Schools, Regional Centers, Arcs, Day Care Centers, and so on.

By and large, these "community facilities" were large, congregate care operations. For instance, the grant to the Mansfield State Training School for a combined day and residential facility allowed the school to expand from serving 1,650 individuals to serving 1,954.

The grant to the Happiday Work Center allowed it to expand from 20 to 90 individuals. Nevada received two grants to construct two 24-bed children's cottages.