WACO, Texas — On Tuesday, the McLennan County Commissioners Court gave the ok on a $3 million funding request from the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center to help pay for the construction of a Crisis Hub Center.
The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which will last through Dec. 31, 2026.
"This is a very big deal," Vince Erickson a spokesperson for the Heart of Texas MHMR Center said. "The needs for the mental health and behavioral services here in Central Texas have gone up pretty much exponentially over the last five to 10 years.
In total, the $9.7 million project will feature the construction of a new crisis facility on a six-acre site between Waco's two hospitals.
"What that's going to do is we have been authorized to purchase a facility and a property," Erickson explained. "Basically, equal distance between the two hospitals in Waco."
However, the new crisis facility will serve all six counties within the MHMR Heart of Texas Region once the building is done.
Erickson said the crisis hub would be a more centralized way of delivering the accessible, caring and responsive support services that are part of the heart of Texas NHMRC Center's mission.
"That means accessible, caring and responsive support services to anybody with families and individuals coping with mental illness, substance use, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and emotional conflict."
The project also has a COVID-19 mitigation aspect which allows employees and patients to safely navigate pandemic-related challenges of today and possible ones tomorrow.
"You need to have the social distancing," Erickson said. "You need to have the space to be able to mitigate the different things that can happen with that with the ups and downs. This will definitely do that."
The new facility will also include a medical clearance component, which will lessen the burden of overcrowded emergency rooms.
"We'd like to be able to have that to where if folks do come in and have a medical clearance component," Erickson explained. "And medical clearance is being able to medically clear to see if somebody needs to go into residential care or can be treated right there at the Crisis Hub."
The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Crisis Hub project in January.