For Immediate Release
February 14, 2023
Mental Health and Healthcare Integration Director
MENTAL HEALTH MAKES MEANINGFUL INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS STATEWIDE
Federal funding provides greater, more equitable access to community services
Waterbury, Vt. - The people who live and work at the residential care home operated by Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS) will soon find it easier to enter the building, and warmer once they get inside. For the first time, the building is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning anyone in a wheelchair is able to enter the building unassisted.
In the fall of 2021, Vermont received $4 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to make existing housing and community-based service facilities providing mental health services more accessible, safe, compliant with the ADA, or expand their capacity to provide services. The WCMHS community residence is one of 19 locations to receive funds, and recently completed long-needed repairs and improvements to the building using federal grant money allocated by the legislature and distributed through the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
“It’s made an incredible difference,” said Darshane Campbell, a program manager at WCMHS. “It’s made this facility all-inclusive,” she said.
Funds went to 19 community services agencies which included mental health, specialized services agencies, and peer advocacy organizations. The recipients are using the funds to address air quality, lack of insulation and even, in some case, failing structures.
“It would be hard to overstate how important these updates are,” DMH Commissioner Emily Hawes said. “If someone can’t navigate stairs or get a wheelchair through narrow doorways, they’re not going to return or be able to live in a building where they can get the mental health care they need. These funds are allowing our community mental health agencies to invest in safety and well-being in ways that haven’t been possible in many years.”
The agencies estimate another $12 million in repairs are needed. Even so, WCMHS Executive Director Mary Moulton said the funds meant significant improvements could be made.
“This opportunity allowed us to do a much-needed facelift as well as improving accessibility, insulation and safety,” Moulton said. “We’re so grateful for the opportunity given to us through the ARPA funds to make this happen for those needing this valuable support on their way to independence and recovery.”
Full List of Vermont ARPA Grant Awards
- Alyssum (Rochester): $24,431for their peer respite center to renovate the kitchen and build a wheelchair ramp.
- Champlain Community Services (Colchester): $66,613 to make a building that serves Vermonters with disabilities fully accessible.
- Clara Martin Center (Randolph): $111,660 to weatherize and improve air quality in two different buildings where Vermonters with severe mental illness receive services.
- Counseling Service of Addison County (Middlebury): $187,777 will be improving several residential buildings by upgrading ramps and renovating kitchens and bathrooms to be accessible.
- Families First (Brattleboro): $69,752 to renovate a building at the Wild Hopes Farm that provides housing for individuals with developmental disabilities, provides crisis services, and offers staff space.
- Green Mountain Support Services (Morrisville): $102,350 to upgrade their crisis and intensive support homes with electrical work, energy efficiency, and roof repairs.
- Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (Springfield): $350,206 to complete part of a long list of construction needs including renovation of a building to create a peer recovery center with recreational facilities and a full kitchen, building a new therapeutic playroom and two new clinical offices in another building, re-designing a life enrichment center for clients in the Community Rehabilitation and Treatment program and upgrading the Community Space and Training Center.
- Howard Center (Chittenden County): $793,476 to invest in several improvements across facilities and programs to increase ADA accessibility, improve heating and air systems, and expand spaces to increase client access.
- Lamoille County Mental Health (Morrisville): $146,090 to install air conditioning and update the electrical systems in residential facilities for clients living with physical and mental health conditions.
- Lincoln Street (Springfield): $61,201 to install specialized sensory lighting, sound proofing and wall and floor treatments for their space which serves Vermonters with developmental disabilities.
- Northeast Kingdom Human Services (Newport and St. Johnsbury): $304,365 to ensure their buildings have doorways, bathrooms and floors compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Northeastern Family Institute (South Burlington): $159,908 to renovate kitchen space at their North Hospital diversion program, improve accessibility at other buildings, and make improvements to their group and foster care homes.
- Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (Franklin/Grand Isle County): $343,987 to make a care home ADA accessible.
- Pathways (Burlington): $62,340 to make upgrades to Soteria House which is a therapeutic Community Residence for the prevention of hospitalization for individuals experiencing a distressing extreme state, commonly referred to as psychosis.
- Rutland Mental Health (Rutland County): $183,242 to make improvements at their crisis stabilization and inpatient diversion facility and two residences that provide intensive residential services to Vermonters.
- Specialized Community Services (Middlebury): $85,196 to do electrical work, air quality improvements and renovations to two buildings where staff work and individuals with developmental disabilities reside.
- United Counseling Services (Bennington): $151,228 to complete a parking lot repair for accessibility at a building where Vermonters with developmental disabilities receive services.
- Upper Valley Services (Randolph and Bradford): $185,138 to complete paving repairs to increase accessibility at a home for Vermonters with developmental disabilities and mold remediation at another.
- Washington County Mental Health (Washington County): $410,515 to completed long-needed repairs and improvements at a residential care home.