Councilmembers Menor, Kobayashi and I recently visited Seattle’s DESC Crisis Solutions Center, Crisis Clinic and 7-8 permanent supportive housing complexes and “Tiny House” villages last month.
We were impressed by the operations of the Seattle Crisis Solutions Center, and believe a comparable facility in Honolulu can help to reduce the number of homeless individuals in the Ala Moana/Kakaako region. The Seattle center is funded by the City of Seattle and provides rapid stabilization, treatment, and referrals for up to 46 individuals at a time. The primary goal is to divert individuals impacted by mental illness and substance abuse from jails and hospitals by providing a more appropriate therapeutic alternative.
National evidence demonstrates that this program model reduces taxpayer expense by minimizing the use of jail and hospitals since the program receives referrals from first responders across the county, including police and medics. The program includes:
- A 15-member Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) of mental health professionals and chemical dependency professionals, which accepts referrals from first responders in King County. Participants are individuals who are in good behavioral control, have not committed a violent crime and do not have a history of violence, and are willing to cooperate with services of the program instead of going to jail or to hospital emergency rooms.
- A 16-bed state-licensed Crisis Diversion Facility (CDF) for residential treatment that accepts eligible individuals in behavioral crisis referred by first responders in King County. Clients may stay in this program for up to 72 hours, and receive stabilization, evaluation and psychiatric services, mental health and chemical dependency assessments and intensive case management.
- A 30-bed Crisis Diversion Interim Services (CDIS) “step-down” program that admits clients referred directly from the CDF who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. Clients may stay up to 14 days and will have access to psychiatric services, mental health and chemical dependency assessments and intensive case management.
Please contact me at 768-5006 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the Crisis Solutions Center program and other actions that city/state policymakers should take to address community complaints about homeless in our neighborhoods.