October 12, 2018 -- Following through on the recommendations of the County Executive’s Transition Team, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced the creation of a Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Stabilization Team in White Plains. The team, to be operated by PEOPLe, Inc., is the initial step in creating Westchester’s first Crisis Stabilization Hub.

Consistent with the Westchester County Executive’s 2017 Transition Report, the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) has undertaken the establishment of four Crisis Stabilization Centers (CSC) around the County, beginning with this first one, serving White Plains and the surrounding communities.

The program is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health, which provided 5 grants across the state, utilizing federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration dollars. The purpose of the funding is to underwrite one year innovative programming, to reduce incarceration and hospitalization of individuals with complex mental health and substance use needs.

Latimer said: “Westchester County has seen the deterioration of the safety net for our most vulnerable people. The Transition Team, which consisted of leaders from across the County, recognized this problem and called us to action, urging for the creation of four Crisis Stabilization Hubs. I am proud to announce that in just nine months, my office, Westchester County DCMH and our colleagues within Westchester, as well as our community partners, have come together to begin making the first hub a reality.”

The stabilization teams are modeled after the staffing of the nationally recognized Dutchess County Stabilization Hub, and will serve people in mental health and/or substance use crisis who are often homeless and facing arrest or emergency hospitalization. PEOPLe, Inc. was the driving force behind the development of the Dutchess Hub, and showed through the County’s RFP process, that they are prepared to develop a similar model in Westchester.

CEO of PEOPLe, Inc. Steve Miccio said: “It is such a privilege to be awarded the grant to help Westchester County develop a Stabilization Center. I believe our model is an exemplary fit for the County. We focus on person-centered trauma informed assistance, with staff who recognize that our customers are important, and we are here for one purpose; to help them.”

The $489,000 funding, running through September 2019, will allow the service team to become operational. At the same time, the County, PEOPLe, Inc., New York State and community providers will work together to develop a sustainability plan. Part of that plan includes a physical location with 24-hour access and services, through which a person’s medical needs (both physical and behavioral) will be identified, and within 24 hours they will be stabilized and connected to the appropriate level of services.

Commissioner of DCMH Michael Orth said: “DCMH has been working to develop such a model for several years; the recognition of this great need in the Transition Report has brought the community a greater awareness. Through the support of the Office of Mental Health, the County Executive’s office, and our partners in the community, we are taking a major step to bring needed crisis stabilization to Westchester.”

The catchment area for the White Plains CSC includes White Plains, most of Greenburgh, Scarsdale, Mamaroneck Town and Village and Harrison. These communities typically utilize hospital emergency services in White Plains. Through detailed analysis of each step in developing the White Plains model, the County intends to map out a replication plan for similar crisis centers in other communities throughout Westchester.