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Health And Public Safety

55 Homeless Individuals to Receive Permanent Supportive Housing

05/16/2017

Today the Behavioral Health Initiative [BHI] introduced a permanent solution for those who have been stuck in the revolving doors of mental health services, or who have fallen through the cracks; housing coupled with intense case management through the Community Connections program. The industry norm for a case manager to client ratio is 1:20, but through this program the “intense case management” will have a 1:15 ratio. Those eligible will have a behavioral health condition, be frequently using emergent services, and either experiencing homelessness or be at risk of not having a home. The program is an expansion of the Community Connections: Jail Diversion Re-Entry program, which launched in 2015 and has housed 72 people to date.

“We’re eager to be able to offer another program that bridges the gap of services within our community; getting these folks who have been disconnected into housing and engaged with the support they need. So that like our previous Community Connections’ clients, they’re not just surviving, but thriving,” said Commission Chairwoman Debbie O’Malley.

Many of the people that will be eligible for the expanded program have only been receiving treatment when they are in the emergency room. In the past, the Metropolitan Detention Center [MDC], the Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment Center [MATS], and Emergent Services have provided temporary support for individuals who are mentally ill, dealing with substance abuse and experiencing homelessness. Starting today MDC, MATS and UNM Hospital will be recommending potential clients to receive housing and supportive services through Community Connections.

Based on previous studies and data, Bernalillo County expects that through the $1.2 million expansion the health and quality of life of clients will vastly improve, that there will be a reduction of emergency services and hospitalizations, as well as decreasing involvement in the criminal justice system.

“The intention of the well-researched, BHI programs is to create a safety net of services that provides ongoing stabilizing services or even better, prevents a mental health crisis from happening,” said County Manager Julie Morgas Baca. “We hope that through the bolstering and creation of these much-needed programs our County will create a robust continuum of resources, services and care for those living with behavioral health issues as well as their family members.”

This announcement is timely, coming in May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Join the conversation with #StigmaFree. Together, Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque are strategically leveraging resources and making decisions with community member and stakeholder inputs through the Behavioral Health Initiative. This endeavor creates a model for improving behavioral health outcomes that could be replicated across the country. For more information about BHI click here.

 

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