The Montrose Center, along with other mental health providers in the area, was awarded funding from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The center will receive a little over one million dollars over the next two years to support its mental health services, especially services for youth. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, with LGBTQ youth being four times more likely to seriously consider suicide.
A total award of $14.3 million was announced during a news conference held earlier today. Harris County Judge Hidalgo made the announcement. She was joined by Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Austin Davis Ruiz, spokesperson for the Montrose Center, and other mental health leaders.
Ruiz says the Montrose Center will use the money in three main areas.
One is to fund staff incentives. The center has lost seven fully licensed staff over the last several months and more have recently retired. “Workers at a non-profit don’t earn the same as their private counterparts,” Ruiz told us. “This will help us with pay equity.”
Two, the monies will help create a pipeline of health professionals. Staff in training must be supervised by licensed professionals and the funds will allow for hiring more of those.
And three, the center will focus on hiring LGBTQ and BIPOC staff to better reflect the diversity of the population it serves.
The center currently has a one-year waiting list for counseling services. It’s hoped that these funds will shorten that wait.