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$1.2 million awarded to help Thurston residents with mental health, substance use issues

Olympian - 5/21/2022

May 21—Thurston County will support six community organizations with $1.2 million in treatment sales tax funds over 19 months.

The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved funding the six organizations during a Tuesday meeting. Funding will start on June 1 and run through the end of 2023.

Treatment sales tax funds support local substance use and mental health treatment services and treatment courts such as the county's Drug Court. The county started collecting a 0.1% sales tax in 2009 to fund these services.

Carrie Hennen, program manager for treatment sales tax funds, said the Treatment Sales Tax Advisory Committee reviewed 11 proposals earlier this year and ultimately recommended six community organizations receive grants.

The awardees are required to use "evidence-based or promising practices" to effectively assist people with substance abuse or mental health challenges, according to a county news release.

Providence Southwest Washington Mobile Health Clinic will receive the largest sum from the county. The program will get $406,727 to support a traveling van that helps unhoused individuals receive care for mental health disorders, substance abuse and other physical health issues, according to a news release from the county.

The second largest sum at $298,394 will go to a Family Support Center of South Sound program that offers housing support for families enrolled in county treatment courts. Specifically, the program will provide intensive case management, housing search support and rental assistance for families with children.

Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council will receive $205,000 to expand its Preparation for Reentry Program. The program helps incarcerated adults at the Thurston County jail with employment preparation and support services.

With this expansion, the release says the program will serve more "legally involved individuals" with behavioral health needs and provide peer mentorship and navigation services.

Peer Olympia, located in downtown Olympia, will get $120,742 to fund virtual and in-person peer coaching for adults recovering from behavioral health issues. Funding will be directed toward people experiencing homelessness and veterans, as well as enhancing training for peers, according to the release.

The county also awarded $120,000 to Family Education and Support Services for a program called Parents for Parents Peer Case Management and Support. These funds will support parents in recovery or parents with behavioral health needs through case management and weekly support groups, per the release.

Lastly, HeartStrides will receive $106,240 to expand a program called Equine Assisted Youth Peer Support. The program uses horses in therapy for youth experiencing mental health or substance use challenges.

The Board of County Commissioners approved the grants without much discussion on Tuesday. But prior to the vote, Commissioner and Board Chair Carolina Mejia thanked those involved for the recommendations.

"Thank you, Carrie (Hennen), and thank you to the Treatment Sales Tax Advisory Committee for all their work in doing this," Mejia said. "I know it's a lot of work to review all these applications, so it's very much appreciated."


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