A dedication and open house will be held this Saturday, Feb. 17, at Kenosha Human Development Services Inc.’s new KARE Center/Crisis Prevention Center.
The festivities will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the facility, the former Gateway Mortgage Corp. building at 1202 60th St. in Kenosha.
The new facility was developed in a partnership between Kenosha County, the City of Kenosha and KHDS.
It will integrate the Kenosha Adult Residential Emergency Center – known as the KARE Center – with a new, 24-hour-a-day walk-in crisis prevention center where law enforcement can refer patients, and citizens can turn for evaluation and assessment in times of mental health crisis.
“This center is a shining example of governments and nonprofits working together to address a true need in the community,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Improving the KARE Center facility and adding a 24-hour meeting place for people in mental health crises will result in enhanced services for our most vulnerable citizens, and a likely savings for taxpayers at large.”
The KARE Center is a community-based residential facility designed to serve as an alternative to hospitalization for people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis. It also provides short-term services to homeless clients with mental illness.
Located for the past quarter century at 510 60th St., the KARE Center’s old facility is a 153-year-old building that lacks handicap accessibility, with all of its bedrooms on the second floor.
The new facility is entirely on ground level and includes 18 beds, seven more than in the old building.
“KHDS is excited to be a part of this expansion of emergency mental health services,” said Jeannine Field, executive director of Kenosha Human Development Services. “Over the last three years, the KARE Center has averaged 715 intakes per year. This new facility will allow us to more adequately serve more people in need, and in a much more comfortable setting.”
The cost of purchasing and renovating the new facility was funded in part by a contribution from the City of Kenosha. Mayor John Antaramian said he hopes for the city and county to save in the long term on hospitalization and institutionalization costs.
“I see this as a win-win for the city, the county and the entire community,” Antaramian said. “Rather than transporting people to hospitals unnecessarily, our officers will be able to take them straight to the KARE Center to undergo the crisis screening they need.
“This will make for a less stressful process for our citizens in need of crisis care and address their problems in a timely manner. The hope is that 24-hour access and early intervention will result in a more positive outcome for those struggling with mental illness or finding themselves in a crisis situation.”
The enhanced local mental health services come at a time when the county is incurring increased costs of referring mental health patients to out-of-town treatment centers.
The new facility will open to clients and residents as soon as the state licensing process is completed.
As a part of the move, the KHDS Crisis Line will relocate to the new building, though it will retain its longtime number, 262-657-7188. The phone number for the main office of Kenosha Human Development Services, located at 5407 Eighth Ave., has changed to 262-764-8555.