Friday, October 29, 2010

County's response to Open Door project

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


Anonymous said...

How many people from his church did Harry Jones hire to work on this thing?

Anonymous said...

Is this the Jasam Group they were using: Why was a custom home builder being used?
I haven't been able to access Arcons Design Studio website, but the owner of the firm is Rajeev Bhave.
How many other city or county projects have been this poorly managed? How much taxpayer money has gone down the drain?

Carolyn Millen said...

Our Neighborhood happens to back up to Charlottetown Manor. This "Facility" has been a huge problem and concern for us since it moved to the current old Hotel Site. It resembles more of a Property that you would commonly refer to as a Slum Lord who only cares about the Rent being received, in this case, taxpayer money for the most part, than actually helping or caring for the "Tenants" or Property. We won't even go into the care of the adjoining Neighborhood & Community. The Property Management does not provide any type of on site Security that We know of for their Residence much less the Neighborhood that is constantly used as the cut through walking traffic, sleeping quarters behind Our Vacant & sometimes occupied Homes, and other miscellaneous "activities" by the Residents who stay at the Manor House. I believe the current Owner or Management decided that it would become more profitable by going after Local, State and/or Federal money by starting to invite Criminals who are getting out of Prison as a Halfway House for them. These are not most often your first time Offenders, these are Sexual Predators, Drug Dealers/Users, as well as your Mentally Disabled etc all thrown under one roof. Manor House has consistently had their Residents spend most Days & Nights walking through Our Neighborhood, Our Streets & on many accounts into Our Neighbors Yards and Front Doors. It is not acceptable that a Place such as this does not or necessitate more accountability from the Management, Ownership, especially the Local, State and Federal Entities that provide any Money that ultimately is Taxpayer money. There are many, many reputable Agencies and Institutions that provide positive help, Housing & Resources to those individuals that are in need in this manner. It is a shame that the money given to the Manor House could have been used by these Agencies & Institutions to build and/or provide the Room, Care & Counseling if needed to Individuals in a Safe, Secure and Responsible Facility & manner for Charlotte/Mecklenburg Citizens. I just finished serving on a Citizens Advisory Group for SRO's for Charlotte/Mecklenburg. I met many Individuals on every level of this issue and found that there are Places currently & planned for in the future that are reputable & responsible Partners for these Individuals/Families and the Communities that they are currently operating or looking to do so. Manor House unfortunately does more harm to their good Works and Names. I hope someone after the Election Tomorrow with the County and any other Agencies or Governmental Entities involved with providing Funding either directly or indirectly to Manor House will do their due diligence in investigating every penny given in the past or planned for the future towards The Manor House. Hopefully, this money will be directed in the future to a Group, Agency or Organization that has a proven track record and accountability for doing this type of Work & Housing.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am curious as to why noone is talking about how the low-level, direct care employees are currently being treated by the Mecklenburg OPen Door Board of Directors. Most of us found out about the criminal activity when the public did. Now we are being punished. We just received word (via e-mail) from the MOD Board of Directors that they are delaying our paycheck scheduled for this next friday. Most of us have children and live paycheck to paycheck (we all know mental health/social work does not pay well). How are we supposed to care for our children? What happens when our auto payments are withdrawn from our account (most companies require 48 hour notice to stop an autodraft) we were informed at 6pm on Wednesday making too late to stop autodrafts. Most of us care deeply for the community in which we serve and were heartbroken to learn of the criminal activity of Ed Payton. HOwever, why are we being punished for serving our consumers?