By Jeff Goldberg
Tom Bogenschutz went down to San Antonio on a mission. The CAJE mental health commissioner was down there to observe the city’s crisis stabilization center.
Bogenschutz liked what he saw, so he brought the idea back to Evansville. After two years, they secured a major amount of funding, $135,000 dollars, from the Evansville City Council to build the facility.
What Bogenschutz saw was a program that helps addicted and mentally ill people in a time of need. Bogenschutz says so many times people hit rock bottom they get sent to the ER or jail. A crisis stabilization center could help make it so those people don’t take up those vital services.
The center in Evansville would be housed in the United Caring Services building. It would only hold people for 24 hours before sending them off to find more help, perhaps at UCS where they specialize in helping. The facility would be open 24/7 and have 4 to 6 beds. An EMT will always be there to make sure that the people brought in don’t need further medical attention.
The project could be a big boost to local hospitals and the Vanderburgh County Jail. Instead of sending ambulances to pick the people up and bring them to emergency rooms that may not be properly equipped to deal with them, the people can come to a place that knows how to best care for them.
The project also excites Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding. His jail is overcrowded and this program could serve as a great diversion. Instead of sending these often nonviolent offenders to jail where they can get lost in the system, they can get good services at UCS.
There is still more fundraising to do before the project can get underway. UCS director Jason Emmerson says that he hopes the center can open its doors by January 1st.
See the original story and watch the 44 News broadcast video HERE.