More than two years ago, Mecklenburg Open Door unveiled plans to build a center that would help people facing mental health crises. More than $500,000 has been spent on the project. But now its future is uncertain.
Mecklenburg County did not make any of its mental health department officials available for an interview about the project. Instead, the department submitted written answers to the Observer's questions.
Here they are:
Charlotte Observer Questions: Crisis Stabilization Unit
When was the project first proposed?
· During FY06-07 the State Division of MH/DD/SA required each Local Management Entity to develop a Crisis Services Plan. The Plan was to describe all crisis services available within the community and to identify any service needs or gaps.
· A Crisis Planning Committee comprised of representatives from CMC, Presbyterian, service providers and LME staff established September 2006.
· April 2007 the Crisis Plan finalized the recommendation that a centralized, facility-based crisis service unit be developed.
What specifically do the plans call for? (number of beds, total square footage, other amenities, etc.)
· Mecklenburg Open Door proposed in May 2008 for the renovation of approximately 8,253 square feet at Charlottetown Manor to include development, construction and related start up costs for a 16 bed unit.
Who will be served by the unit? How will those clients be identified? And how will the unit help them? How will the project help the community? What needs will it help meet?
· The crisis unit would be an unlocked, residential facility where individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can get services to help them get stabilized in a safe environment.
· This would offer an option other than being incarcerated or institutionalized.
· This would help the community by stabilizing individuals that might otherwise be incarcerated or homeless.
What is happening to those people now?
· Individuals present with different issues. It is difficult to speculate what might or might not be occurring with specific individuals. Some may be in jail or some may be homeless. Some may present at the CMC-R emergency room or inpatient.
When originally was the project scheduled for completion?
· The original completion date was scheduled for January 2009
When were the first plans drawn up?
· The initial concept and plans were developed in February 2008
What work has been completed on the project so far?
· Initial demolition of interior first floor space.
What companies are involved in the planning and construction? How were those companies chosen?
· Arcons Design Studio: architectural and planning aspects of the project
· Jasam Group: contractor/builder
Both were selected by MOD
What has delayed the project so far?
· March 2009: zoning and facility integrity issues
· November 2009: licensure DHSR, final approval from the state licensure pending
· Issues related to fire and sprinkler system
· Structural issues, lead paint, and asbestos recognition and abatement
· April 2010: upgrading main building’s electrical service and HVAC system
How much money has been spent on the project so far?
· Fy’08-’09: $325,248
· FY’09-’10: $194,846
All funds are State funds; Mental Health Trust Fund or Crisis Services Funds
What is the current status of the Crisis Stabilization Unit? Do you still expect it will be built? Which agency will be responsible for ensuring the project is built?
· On hold pending negotiation of a contract with a new provider
· The development of the crisis stabilization unit was included as part of the Request for Information.
If so, when do you anticipate that it will be completed? Where will the project be built?
· It is too soon to speculate on any details at this point.
What hurdles must be cleared before the project is completed? What additional plans or funding must be approved?
· Charlottetown Manor site must be assessed by new provider before further funding is established.
What is the expected total cost of the project? What percentage of that will be state money? What percentage will be county money?
· Total cost of the project will be reassessed with new provider
· All funds for a Crisis Stabilization unit are State funds
What else should the public know about this project?
- Ames Alexander