Community Mental Health Affiliates received $2.625 million grant help reduce opioid use among homeless, those at-risk

Published on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:46
Written by Ciara Hooks


NEW BRITAIN – Community Mental Health Affiliates received a $2.625 million, five-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant will be put toward expanding access to treatment and reducing opioid use among homeless and at-risk individuals through its Intensive MAT Person Approach Community Treatment program. This award is part of $123 million in federal funding to provide multifaceted support for communities and providers throughout the country to combat the overdose epidemic.

“We know that basic needs must be met before recovery can happen. If someone is worried about finding food or shelter, it’s hard to even consider sobriety,” said Christopher Porcher, CMHA assistant program officer. “IMPACT will meet clients where they are and help them get all of the necessary support so they can focus on recovery.”

CMHA’s IMPACT program aims to help reduce the rate of opioid overdose and increase the number of adults receiving medication assisted treatment through outreach and embedded community services. These services are provided at three local shelters: Friendship Service Center and Salvation Army in New Britain and St. Vincent DePaul Mission shelter in Bristol. IMPACT will also provide substance abuse training and distribute life-saving Naloxone (Narcan) to shelters and homeless encampments. Using peer and recovery support services, IMPACT staff encourage program participants to participate in treatment while connecting them to primary health care, sober housing and other entitlements to help ensure success in long term recovery.

“As the rate of overdose in our area continues to climb, particularly at our local shelters, and more individuals struggle with job loss and homelessness following the pandemic, this funding is needed now more than ever,” said Grace Cavallo, CMHA chief program officer. “This collaborative program will most certainly save lives.”

According to CMHA, in Central Connecticut the overdose rate has increased 61% over the past five years, and the number of homeless individuals has nearly doubled in the past year alone. IMPACT will address both issues with a coordinated community approach.

“I believe outreach is a vital piece to ending homelessness. Relationship brings trust and trust evokes change, especially those who are homeless and suffering from opioid addiction,” said Christine Thebarge, executive director, St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol. “We are thrilled that CMHA received this grant and we have the ability to partner with this organization.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:46. Updated: Wednesday, 22 September 2021 13:48.