How do you get the homeless members of your community the mental health help they need rather than simply throw them in jail?

That was the question facing Cottonwood, Arizona and a question we, at Spectrum have been pushing to the forefront. Up until now, the relationship between the court system, the criminal justice system and the healthcare system has been fragmented. But thanks to a new partnership between Spectrum Healthcare and the City of Cottonwood, a new relationship has begun aimed at removing more mentally challenged homeless individuals off the streets and into housing with an array of mental health services to allow them to become more productive.

From April Razo, Spectrum Healthcare CEO: “The relationship has been informal with the court system and the criminal justice system. It is fragmented. Everyone is funded their own way and there has been no incentive way to bridge all those things together like we are doing here, other than a group of us gets together and says ‘this is not the right thing to do’. And then we all come together and pool resources. We have been involved in all the specialty courts for a long time, but we’ve never been involved in something like this that is kind of customized to each person. It is just a new way of approaching the problem.”

Through The City of Cottonwood Post Arrest Jail Diversion Program, homeless individuals battling mental illness will have the option to work with mental health care providers at Spectrum rather than face jail time. With assessment and treatment plans developed, these individuals will be required to comply with the plan, which may involve housing, drug and alcohol education and scheduled appointments with their mental health care provider. Candidates for the program must be local, with a history of homelessness and suspected mental illness or personality disorder.

The goal of the program is to return these individuals to society and help them to once again be productive, but in order to make the program as effective as possible, we need your help; we can’t do it alone. If you are interested in joining with us in this joint approach to getting our homeless the help they need, please consider donating.