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Agency News

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Harris County and the City of Houston Partner to Fund new COVID-19 Homeless Respite and Rehabilitation Center

HOUSTON, October 1, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vulnerability of individuals who are homeless and have mental illnesses. It is not only the unhealthy conditions on the streets that make the unsheltered homeless “at-risk” to COVID-19; most suffer from underlying, chronic health conditions. An estimated 15-25% of individuals experiencing homelessness throughout Harris County and the greater Houston area suffer from severe mental health issues making it difficult for city, county and local partners to quickly assist and house them out of harm’s way. Social distancing requirements have also reduced homeless shelter capacity. These extremely acute individuals have a large impact on first responders and hospitals by routinely requiring emergency intervention. These individuals increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure to first responders and the community

The Harris Center awarded $836,243 for Telehealth Services Infrastructure

 The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD received $836,243 from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program to enhance its telehealth service infrastructure. The FCC received funding for this program through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The FCC funds will enable The Harris Center to further expand access to behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services for Harris County residents via telehealth platforms.

The Harris Center and Harris County Probate Court 3 Announce New Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program

The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, in cooperation with Harris County Probate Court 3 and the University of Houston, has received a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program for people with serious mental illness. 

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

We visited with Miss Harris County 2020 Madison Lamont  to chat about why mental health awareness is so important for everyone. Our Director of Access Jennifer Battle and Suicide Prevention Manager Wykisha McKinney joined us for a lively conversation!

Our Harris Center team shared about the unique ways we educate and promote mental health, and Miss Harris County shared about her passion for mental health awareness. Please listen in to learn more about The Harris Center's education and outreach programs and Miss Harris County's social initiative: Educate about mental health, Erase the stigma about mental illness and Encourage dialogue to promote awareness. 

Needs of Houston's homeless with mental illness intensified due to pandemic

The COVID-19 disaster is having a detrimental impact on the ability of homeless individuals with mental illness to find a safe place to shelter following stabilization and discharge from inpatient crisis psychiatric treatment.

 

Representative Garnet Coleman proposed utilizing an existing state Healthy Community Collaborations grant to enable three local organizations to provide transition shelter and supporting services for homeless people who have mental illness. The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center and Open Door Mission will join forces to open a 24-hour facility with 28 beds.
 

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