The cuts at the state and federal level have taken a heavy toll on our community locally with the announcement today of the closing of Bridgeways mental health facility. Without an ability to raise additional revenue at the state or federal level, there is extreme pressure on the local County and City to do more with less. Today it was announced that one our critical human service agencies is going out of business by April 30, 2012.
Last year, we lost the seperate shelter for men with a disability, and now we are losing an entire safety net service in the community. This is a huge loss for all those struggling with behavioral health issues and their families. It will be harder to find a case worker. It will be more difficult to get access to medicine for mental illness. It will more difficult to move back into a stable place after a breakdown.
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Here is the announcement from Bridgeways:
In the last decade, mental health funding for community services in Ohio has declined by 76% and drug and alcohol treatment by 51%. Today, this disturbing trend took its latest victim, as Bridgeway, a nonprofit organization that has served some of Cuyahoga County’s poorest, and most severely ill and/or drug and alcohol addicted citizens for decades, announced that it will close its doors on or before April 30, 2012.
Based on a recent financial review, the Board of Trustees decided that Bridgeway could not reduce its expenses without jeopardizing client care and, therefore, must close. As CEO, David J. Lundeen explains:
“Unfortunately, our recent financial review has shown that the Agency is no longer viable. Our goal now is to do everything we can to help Bridgeway clients transition to other agencies and to help staff find re-employment. We are still in the process of working on the details of a transition plan but should know more soon and will share further details at the earliest opportunity.”
Bridgeway: Bridgeway currently owns 22 properties in Cuyahoga County, employs 82 individuals and today serves 565 clients a day across six programs, including 3 residential facilities, 16 independent living sites and the only crisis stabilization unit in Cuyahoga County.
Nice coverage of the closing by one of the finest journalists in Cleveland, Tom Beres here:
With the ADAMHS board deciding not to step in to support the organization with funding to assure that it can make it through the end of the month, it seems as though many staff will not get paid for work that they have done. There are many staff members angry and hurt that this came on so suddenly and community leaders have not stepped in to provide funding for a smooth transition.