New mobile crisis unit designed to reduce chronic homelessness
Unit provides crisis support services to individuals suffering from non-emergency mental health challenges
– New crisis support services are available to anyone in the City of San Luis Obispo through the city’s new mobile crisis unit, a pilot program designed to help prevent and reduce chronic homelessness.
The unit now responds to calls for service within the city and provides crisis support services to individuals suffering from non-emergency mental health challenges, drug and alcohol addiction, and chronic homelessness.
“We are excited to begin offering this new service to meet the needs of our community,” Fire Chief Keith Aggson said. “The mobile crisis unit is available to all who are suffering from a crisis and is expected to be most frequently used by our most vulnerable and unhoused community members. Connecting these individuals to the appropriate resources is an important step in improving their situation.”
Embedded with the San Luis Obispo Fire Department, the unit pairs a mental health case worker with a fire department emergency medical technician and is available to all community members through the city’s non-emergency dispatch line at (805) 781-7312. The unit is currently available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the fire department may adjust hours to best meet the needs of the community.
The unit provides on-call mental health services, including assessments, case management, rehabilitation services, crisis management, and coordination with or referral to other services. In just one week in June 2022, the unit contacted 33 individuals, was dispatched to 15 calls for service, and helped de-escalate 8 mental health crises.
“During the pilot period through June 2023, the city fire department will use response data and best practices to adjust the program based on community needs and demand,” said Aggson.
While public mental health services are traditionally provided at the county level, the city will spend upwards of $300,000 this fiscal year to develop this pilot program managed by the city’s fire department to help achieve major city goals around homelessness. The annual ongoing cost is estimated at about $270,000.
For more information, visit www.slocity.org/MobileCrisisUnit of follow the fire department on Twitter and Instagram.
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