In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BILLERICA — The Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission has secured $1.65 million in congressionally-directed funding to establish a crisis diversion facility in the county, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health CEO & President Danna Mauch and Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced today.
The funding was included in the recently approved federal omnibus spending package signed by President Biden on March 15.
“We are extremely grateful to Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Senators Elizabeth (D-MA) Warren and Ed Markey (D-MA) for their leadership in marshaling the resources needed to improve the delivery of behavioral healthcare in the Commonwealth,” said Restoration Center Commission Co-Chairs Mauch and Koutoujian. “This marks a major milestone for the efforts we have undertaken over the last four years as it represents the first direct federal investment in the project. As we move from the study and planning phases and into the implementation phase, this funding will play a critical role in allowing us to begin providing expanded mental health and substance use services to members of our community in crisis.”
The Restoration Center Commission was established under 2018’s Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform and was tasked with studying and making recommendations for the creation of a crisis diversion facility in Middlesex County.
The new center would provide an alternative to arrest or emergency room transport for individuals in need of behavioral health services. Through a no wrong door policy, both walk-in services as well as police drop-off would be available at the center.
“Once established, the Middlesex County Restoration Center will serve as a shining model for what behavioral health crisis services and wrap-around support can look like across the Commonwealth,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud to have secured over $1.6 million in federal funding for this critical project — bringing the Center one step closer to becoming reality. I look forward to working with Sheriff Koutoujian, Dr. Mauch and our local partners to get this project across the finish line.”
“I fought hard alongside Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Senator Ed Markey for federal funding to establish a crisis diversion facility in Middlesex County, and I’m glad we secured $1.65 million for those efforts,” said Senator Warren. “These funds will be critical to expanding mental health and substance use services for members of our community. I’m grateful for the continued partnership with Sheriff Koutoujian and Dr. Danna Mauch to combat the substance use disorder crisis.”
“We do better by Bay Staters when we focus our resources on connecting people in crisis with mental health and substance use services, instead of putting them in the back of a police cruiser,” said Senator Markey. “With this investment, we can bring behaviorial healthcare to the Commonwealth and get people the help that they need in a more supportive setting.”
The commission also recently announced it had secured $5 million in ARPA funding through the state legislature funding thanks to the work of State Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and State Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford). Additionally, Governor Charlie Baker included $1 million in his proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget for the project.
“It is very exciting to see federal money appropriated that will make a direct impact on the Middlesex County community,” said Senator Friedman. “An enormous thank you to our federal delegation and to my colleagues on the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission for bringing a mix of federal and state funding to the table to help make the Middlesex County Restoration Center a reality.”
“I’m deeply grateful to our partners in Congress for prioritizing the Middlesex County Restoration Center,” said Representative Gordon. “This additional funding will be crucial as the Commission continues its work to transform behavioral health services in our communities. The investment underscores the importance of the goal we share with our federal, state, and local partners.”