(Photo Supplied/City of South Bend and southbendin.gov)
The City of South Bend has announced a funding agreement with Oaklawn that will establish and launch a 24/7 behavioral crisis center in South Bend. The plan for this center was formed over the past two years in partnership with Oaklawn, the St. Joseph County Department of Health, Memorial Hospital/Beacon Health System, St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office, Sound Bend Police Department, St. Joseph County Council, and the South Bend Common Council.
This agreement provides $2.66 million for Oaklawn to invest into the Memorial Epworth building, establish the Behavioral Crisis Center and fund the first year of its operations. These funds were included as part of the City’s American Rescue Plan distribution that passed the Common Council (Bill No. 118-21) by a 7-2 vote in October of 2021. The County Council had appropriated matching funds unanimously as part of its American Rescue Plan distribution. Last month, the County Commissioners tabled an agreement with Oaklawn that would have provided the matching funds necessary for the establishment of the Behavioral Crisis Center and three years of operations.
“After years of collaboration, I am glad our community is ready to establish a crisis center and fill in gaps in our mental health services,” said Mayor James Mueller. “I am optimistic that additional funding partnerships with the County and State will sustain the crisis center and these critical mental health services beyond its initial years.”
“We are honored to have the City’s support for this project as the next step in making the crisis center a reality,” said Oaklawn President & CEO Laurie Nafziger. “We are working diligently with county officials to answer all questions and wholeheartedly believe the crisis center is the next step in caring for the mental health needs of our communities.”
The City’s funds will support and ensure easy access to high-quality behavioral health services for any resident. The commitment will also change how the city delivers services to those suffering behavioral health crises.
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