Inauguration of the new mental health center in Fairfield – The Vacaville Reporter


Tuesday marked an essentially symbolic but still crucial milestone as Solano County moves towards building a new residential mental health treatment center in Fairfield.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the county health and social services campus for the 11,900 square foot combined center, which aims to provide support to adult county residents with mental illness and at risk housing insecurity. Solano was one of 10 counties to receive funding for the project through Senate Bill 843, with the remaining funds coming from Fairfield Public Facilities Fees and Housing Assistance and Prevention Program grants. homeless people in the state. The total cost of the project is $ 12.5 million.

The ceremony brought together several representatives of regional healthcare consortia such as Kaiser Permanente, NorthBay Healthcare and Sutter Health, as well as numerous elected officials such as the mayor of Fairfield Harry Price, the mayor of Benicia Steve Young, the five county supervisors. and representatives of Senator Bill. Dodd, Assembly Member Jim Frazier and Representative John Garamendi.

County administrator Birgitta Corsello said the center was part of the continuing expansion of the health and social services campus, which was established with the purchase of a building in the 90s and n ‘ has only grown since then. The mental health center, she said, would provide the most “unique” addition to the campus and one that fills a need in the county.

“The project will provide mental health services and serve clients and hopefully divert them from the criminal justice system and capture them as they withdraw from more intense services before they are ready to go out on their own. “she said. .

Render of the Solano County Residential Mental Health Treatment Facility. Construction is expected to be completed by September 2022. (Nick Sestanovich – The Reporter)

The project will consist of three buildings: a one-storey 5,500 gross square foot administrative building and a pair of 3,200 gross square feet residential buildings. One building will house the board and the care unit, and another will house the intensive residential mental health treatment unit. The two residential buildings will offer 16 beds each.

While John Vasquez, chairman of the Solano County Supervisory Board, said 32 beds might seem like a small number, he said it was “32 significant beds.”

“Mental health has always been a critical issue for us (on the supervisory board),” he said. “It’s something we wanted to do, and we slowly worked on it. This funding and the money we have in the cost of public facilities is really starting to make a difference, and it will happen. “

Vasquez stressed the need to provide support to people with mental health issues, especially those who are homeless.

“I know this council is committed to constructing these buildings, staffing them and providing the best possible services,” he said.

Monica Brown, vice chair of the supervisory board and member of the mental health advisory board, highlighted the town of Fairfield as a major partner in the county’s housing projects and also shed light on the work being done by the advisory board. mental health. In particular, she noted the work of board member Denise Coleman and asked the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to her since it was her birthday.

“She was great at the service, explaining things to me,” she said.

Corsello reviewed the project schedule, which was assigned to Flint Builders in Roseville. Demolition and grading of the site are scheduled for January, the foundations would be put in place in February, the walls and tilting panels are expected to be installed in March, the building will hopefully be waterproof by April, a move in and a Beneficial occupation could take place in August with a global competition scheduled for September.

However, Corsello said it would all depend on the level of rains during the construction period.

“There was a joke before everyone got there until they started it’s going to start raining,” she said. “Maybe we should start early because we really need the rain. I hope for the construction team and for our project that we have intermittent rains and can keep going so that the project comes to fruition. The 32 beds are desperately needed.

Gerald Huber, director of health and social services, praised the work of Sandra Sinz, deputy director of behavioral health, who he said “laid the vision” for the project.

“When she told me about it, it was very conceptual,” he said. “I actually didn’t think that day would come.”

However, with the help of various agencies – including, but not limited to, the County Administrator’s Office, County Council Office, California Health Facilities Financing Authority, and Department of Resource Management de Solano – the project has been made possible.

“It takes a village, but it takes a team to build this village,” Huber said.

Huber said providing treatment for people with mental health issues is vital and has consistently ranked among the top two community needs in various health and needs assessments.

“The ability to place people with mental health issues is essential for this to happen on a local basis,” he said. “Many people who have significant mental health issues, even in the context of our own county, are being raised outside the county, far from their family members, far from the support of the community,” he said. he declares. “What we’re trying to develop here is a continuum of care model here in Solano County to meet the needs of the homeless.”

After the ceremony, local dignitaries donned hard hats, grabbed shovels and moved dirt to mark the start of the construction process.

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