SPOKANE, Wash — With the ground officially broken, Spokane will be home to the first-ever mental health crisis building in Washington state.
“Our jail is not a mental health facility. Our jail is for incarcerating people that put others at risk," said Spokane County Commissioner Al French.
The new facility located at1302 West Gardner Ave. will serve as a jail diversion program.
First responders and law enforcement who get calls related to mental health issues will now have this building as a middle ground.
It’ll be a solution that doesn’t result in the arrest of someone who can’t necessarily control their actions.
“This is transformative because a significant part of our jail population are folks that are suffering from either substance abuse or mental health,” French said. “Now we have an alternative, a diversion for them.”
Resources offered at the crisis facility will include trained therapists.
Along with that will be a full range of medical, mental health, and substance use services all at a single location.
It’s similar to a rehabilitation center that helps people get back on their feet and stabilized.
“It means that we are more efficient with how we deploy our law enforcement officers and it’s a more compassionate way of how we deliver services to those that are in need of help," French said.
The new project will cost $9.1 million. $1.5 will come from the county, another $1.1 is from the city, and the rest is being funded by the state.
It’s expected to open in June of 2021.
“Hopefully this will be the model for other counties in the state to follow,” French said.