CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not every day that homeowners agree to raise their own property taxes, especially when they’re not affluent, but a large group of West Side residents have done just that to pay for a new mental health facility.

It’s the first step in a process that next goes to voters.

Activist Jackie Ingram said a mental health center is desperately needed on the West Side.

“The smallest trigger can send anyone into a rage. We are trying to get our normal back, and we all know it’s not been normal for a long time on the West Side,” she said.

Under the state’s Community Expanded Mental Health Services Act, signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2011, residents of any Chicago community can place a binding referendum on the ballot asking voters to approve a property tax hike to pay for a mental health facility in their neighborhood.

Members of the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers delivered 10,000 petition signatures to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on Friday. Ingram said they collected double what is required.

“We are here today because they responded with an overwhelming, ‘Yes, I will sign your petition; and, yes, I will raise my property taxes,’” she said.

High school students went door to door gathering signatures for the Coalition. They chanted “mental health, we need mental health,” and danced on the sidewalk outside the Board of Elections as they delivered the petitions.

“Today, our impossible became possible, and that progress feels fantastic,” Ingram said.

Now, they need residents to vote yes in November to paying an extra $16 a year to fund the facility, which would be the second such mental health facility created “for the people and by the people,” as one activist put it, under the 2011 law.

Coalition member Janice Oda-Gray said, if approved, “the center will not be a panacea to cure all social ills, but it can address issues early on.”

“It can help the student with anger issues. It can help the spouse who needs to talk to someone. It can help someone who may be on the verge of hurting themselves or hurting someone else,” she added.

The coalition said it would cost about $700,000 a year to run the center.