Approximately 250 faith and community leaders from across St. Joseph County came together in South Bend on Sunday, April 24, to engage our state legislators to partner with us and find dedicated funding streams for a robust crisis response system.
Together, our collective voices rang out loud and clear: “Let my people go!” – and, by the end of the evening, we knew that we had been heard. During the Town Hall, Mayor Mueller’s team announced a commitment of $5.8 million toward county partnerships for homelessness and mental health, with priority on a crisis response center and a low-barrier intake center. This is on top of the nearly $3 million allocation from the St. Joseph County Council we were able to help secure at the end of 2021.
This is a huge deal, and the impact of these victories cannot be overstated. Because of the work we have done together over the past few years, thousands of people across St. Joseph County will soon have access to the treatment they need rather than the punishment they don’t deserve.
But this is all still one-time funding. We need a dedicated funding stream for a robust crisis response system. We know we can fund crisis response the same way we do 9-1-1. A daily phone surcharge of just 3 cents a day can generate $90 million a year to get help to Hoosiers in crisis.
We need dedicated funding. That’s why it was so important to have state legislators with us on Sunday. Senator Linda Rogers (R) and Rep. Maureen Bauer (D) both committed to champion securing funding in the 2023 legislative session for a robust crisis system. There are lots of details to work out, but they will work with us to make sure our family members in crisis get the help they need.
Securing a dedicated funding stream is critical, as it will help ensure that all three components of the crisis continuum are funded in Indiana, making sure that all Hoosiers have a place to call, a person to come, and a place to go.