With some block grant funding left over from the 2015-16 fiscal year, county staff Tuesday described the programs that will utilize the funds.
The county is required to report the number of clients served each year through a Human Services Block Grant, deputy administrator Natalie Corman told the Board of Commissioners during its regular weekly meeting, as well as how the county plans to use the retained earnings acquired over the years.
According to Corman’s report, Centre County was allocated about $6 million last fiscal year through all state and funding opportunities. The county ended up using about $5.5 million.
Through the funding, the county was able to serve 21,830 residents, she said, through services like mental health, intellectual disabilities, drug and alcohol services and various other adult services.
In terms of last year, she said, the county spent well considering it didn’t receive its funding allocation until January. She credited the work of county staff to keep providers supported through six months of state budget issues until the county was funded.
With the portion of funding the county will be able to keep, she said, a portion will be used to continue the county crisis intervention team, whose grant funding is set to expire at the end of the month. The team, according to Corman, provides specialized training for county law enforcement and first responders in understanding mental illness and drug and alcohol issues and how to respond.
Director of adult services Faith Ryan said that funding would help retain the housing program specialist, who does liaison work with local municipalities and facilitates local housing organizations. She also said adult services was looking to provide housing contingency funds again, which provide rental assistance opportunities.
MH/ID/D&A director Tom McDermott said he was seeking funding for the Community Hospital Integration Program, which helps transition individuals from state hospitals back into the community. If funding could be obtained, he said, two more people could be transitioned from hospitals.
Funding would also allow medication-assisted therapy, he said, which allows for the use of medication in helping individuals beat their addictions.
This would especially be important given the opioid epidemic that is affecting the state, he said.