Volunteers of America Eastern Washington will add behavioral health services with $4 million federal grant

Volunteers of America plans to integrate behavioral health into their Spokane housing programs with the help of a $4 million grant announced Tuesday by the House Office of Crime Prevention and Health Care.

With a shortage of behavioral health services in the Spokane area, leaders in early detection of the COVID-19 pandemic are doing what they need to do to provide in-depth support for people to act. finished when they got housing, Beth McRae, director of development said.

“There aren’t enough resources in the community,” McRae said, “We just can’t take care of everyone who needs it.”

That made the Volunteers of America East Washington decide to become a certified community hospital.

“We need to start providing in-depth services so they can be done at home and at home,” he said.

VOA runs 15 local programs, including three shelters: Crosswalk Youth Shelter, Hope House Women’s Shelter and Young Adult Shelter, as well as permanent housing programs. The program will provide integrated care, meaning behavioral health professionals will join people’s existing care teams, McRae said.

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Homeless people often have trauma that caused them to lose their homes, McRae said. They were also injured while on the road, he said.

They are used to survival, worrying about where they will sleep that night or get their next meal, McRae said.

“Anyone who is homeless right now I guarantee you are struggling with depression,” he said. “I don’t know how you can’t do it.”

At home, he was quiet, McRae said. People spend a lot of time alone and it can be difficult to adjust, she said. They may also find long-term health problems they don’t know they have until they’re in a safe place away from the stress of homelessness, McRae said.

During that time, they need to work on the job and heal their injuries to move toward their goals, McRae said.

“That kind of goes away, and then the other thing they have to work on is maybe the trauma of homelessness or the trauma of being homeless,” McRae said. ,” McRae said. “That’s where we need behavioral health care to address these issues so people can move in a truly healthy way.”

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After deciding to add a healthy lifestyle to their services, VOA conducted a survey to determine what the people in their services needed. Then they reached out to existing community service providers for input, McRae said.

In January, VOA hired Esa Lariviere as vice president of integrated monitoring. They applied for the SAMHSA grant, which they received on September 29.

In the next year, the program will hire additional doctors, medical staff and a director of medicine. Physicians will join people’s existing care teams that usually include a medical specialist and a case manager.

The program will complete all its new licenses with the health department, McRae said. By the end of the first year, they hope to have about 100 participants receiving behavioral health services.

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Most of these people will be in a supportive housing program, McRae said. The housing support now has about 220 people in it, he added.

About 2,700 people use VOA services each year, but not all of them have behavioral health needs; Some simply park on the bus or use shelters during the transition period of their lives, he said.

Each year the program is expected to add about 100 participants, with a goal of 500 receiving behavioral health care at the end of the four-year grant.

Being an accredited community health clinic will allow VOA to collect insurance for their services, which will help sustain the program, McRae said. There is also an option for an extension of the SAMHSA grant after the initial four years, he said. The new certification will also make VOA eligible for new grants, McRae added.

The non-profit organization also relies on local donors and community fundraising.


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