Affirmations awards $ 250,000 for behavioral health program

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FERNDALE – Ferndale’s LGBTQ + community center, Affirmations, has received significant funding from the federal government and Oakland County to help with its programming.

The center received $ 250,000 from Oakland County for its behavioral health services program. Funding was administered through the United Way for Southeast Michigan.

Affirmations executive director Dave Garcia said the money would be used to hire a full-time care coordinator.

“I feel like one of the challenges that we have encountered here within the organization (is)… we do a lot of things for the community, but we don’t get a clear enough picture of health. 360 degrees from someone, ”he said. noted.

United Way’s senior health and basic needs director for Southeast Michigan Sara Gold said the funding is part of a package allocated by the federal government from the American Rescue Plan Act .

Gold said Oakland County has received a large amount of money allocated as part of the action. A base credit of $ 10 million was to be given through a grant process to nonprofits that provide mental health services, and Gold said the county has turned to United Way to set up the program to quickly transfer funds to communities.

“This is how Affirmations competed for one of these grants. It was a competitive grant process and they were awarded, ”she said.

Garcia said if someone came to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, no one would take the time to ask people more questions about their lives, such as whether they have health insurance, see a therapist, or see a therapist. ‘they experience homelessness.

“There are a million different questions we need to ask everyone who seeks services at Affirmations, and we need to get a better idea of ​​all the challenges this person faces in their life and how we can help them.” , did he declare. “We need a care coordinator who, if this is a person coming for therapy, not only talks to them about the therapy and makes them register to see a therapist, but understands really all his health needs. “

In addition to a full-time care coordinator, Garcia said he would also help pay a few therapists as a first step, as the center has been inundated with requests from the LGBTQ community to see a mental health therapist since the beginning. start of COVID-19 pandemic.

He also added that when it comes to the grant, it is specific to residents of Oakland County.

“Obviously with the other funding that we’ve been able to get, we’re going to expand into Wayne, Macomb and Washtenaw and other counties that we serve, but as far as the funds for this particular grant go, those are concentrated. over Oakland County. ,” he said.

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