United Caring Services is excited to (soon) offer a new front-line intoxication, substance use, and/or co-occurring mental health crisis intervention and diversion program in partnership with the city of Evansville, Evansville Police Department, ECHO Community Health, Vanderburgh County Health Dept, Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, AMR, Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare, local hospitals, and many other agencies and individuals. This new program will expand our Recuperative Care Program‘s medical respite goals of safe discharge and better health outcomes to include addressing the intervention, diversion, stabilization, and treatment needs of people with intoxication, substance use, and/or co-occurring mental health issues — issues that cause and continue people’s homelessness.
These new services will provide a safe, supportive, and more cost-effective alternative to incarceration, emergency medical services, and emergency department use.
With the support of the community, in 2019 we renovated/updated the ‘Annex’ and office areas at UCS to provide 4-7 short-term sobering/stabilization beds (up to 23 hours) for people experiencing an intoxication, substance use, and/or co-occurring mental health crises who are not dangerous to themselves or others and medically able to receive care. This service will be a voluntary program for adults who will gain access by police drop of, SBH crisis response team drop-off, EMS, or ED referral. These new diversion services will allow people an opportunity to receive assessment, intervention, stabilization, motivation, education, coordination with other treatment providers, and referrals for follow-up care additionally utilizing longer-term respite care, safe have/bridge housing (in planning phases) services, shelter or permanent/shared housing as safe discharge points for people experiencing homelessness as well with the opportunity for continuing case management and wrap-around services from UCS.
Below are our current working documents as of May 2021. As we anticipate and seek community funding and federal grant support to make this needed service a reality and fine-tune our processes, this information will be updated. Work has been completed on the drawings and design for the program and administrative spaces thanks to VPS Architects and ARC Construction. Despite being delayed by the pandemic in 2020, the major parts of the construction and renovation are complete. We anticipate having the space ready for use by early/mid-2022. New policies and procedures, and a database, that support this new community endeavor are also nearly complete – on pause awaiting operation funding. A data task force has been created to create and implement a database for data collection, tracking, and reporting.
The implementation timeline, as well as the depth and coverage of services, is funding-dependent, but we hope to implement a successful front-line intervention model and the team starting in 2022. As we seek operation funding, we still have some equipment, supplies, and final renovation polishes to purchase and complete in 2022 and may need additional funding or in-kind donations to finish.
More updates on renovation, policy, procedures, partners, and funding progress will be shared as they are available.
Coordinating and strategic partners seeking to help make this program a reality.
A special thank you to IBEW Local #16, CenterPointe Energy, Toyota Foundation, Cater Communications, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, the city of Evansville, Traci Welp, Jim, and Jan Spath, and several other individual donors for their project renovation/capital improvement/database support so far. We are almost there!