by JANA WILSON
Working behind the scenes for two years, a group with more than 40 public, private, and nonprofit organizations represented has been quietly mapping out the community resources available for those with substance abuse disorders, working to identify service gaps, and looking for solutions to the problems faced by people in crisis.
Now the Stride Coalition has announced creation of the Monroe County Crisis Diversion Center, slated to open later this spring. The center will be located in the Monroe County Parking Garage, 312 N. Morton St.
Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Medical and Cook Group, is one of Stride’s founding members. “We had started working on trying to help people get a high school diploma,” Yonkman says of employee programs at Cook. “And we came across the fact that people had other obstacles to employment, like drug addiction.”
Yonkman says he began talking to others in the community, looking for ways organizations could work together to solve the problems the community faced due to substance abuse issues. The Crisis Diversion Center, which will be open 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, was the result.
“One of the problems Stride identified was that there is the lack of options to take someone in crisis that isn’t in jail or the hospital,” says Linda Grove-Paul, vice president of adult services at Centerstone, which will run the center. “The 24-hour Crisis Diversion Center is really a third option.”
Beyond Cook and Centerstone, support for the Crisis Diversion Center includes the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Police Department, Monroe County, Bloomington Health Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. A $1 million grant from IU Health and the IU Health Foundation will help fund the center.
Grove-Paul says the center won’t be a shelter. Rather, it will be a comfortable place where those who need support can get it as they figure out what services they need.
“This center is intended to be a safe, supportive resource that is not clinical,” she says. “Sometimes people in crisis often need something as simple as a hot meal and a safe place with trained professionals available for support.”
For more information, including a full list of Stride Coalition organizations, visit stridecoalition.org.