Forward Community Investments & Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers Collaborate To Provide Much Needed Mental Health Support in Milwaukee
January 20, 2021
Forward Community Investments (FCI) and Sixteenth Street Community Health Center (SSCHC) are partnering together on a $6.5 MM New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) project to rehab a former office building in the Clarke Square neighborhood into a behavioral health facility.
SSCHC is a key resource of healthcare for much of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable population, and their mission lies in addressing the roots of poverty beyond the exam room. They endeavor to improve the health of their patients through medical and behavioral health care, involvement in the community, and collaboration and coordination with partners.
Plans for this project include a critically important Mental Health Support Center. The 32,000SF building will include a full continuum of behavioral health services co-located with the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Department. The NMTC investment will support SSCHC’s core belief in building healthy communities by narrowing health disparities and access gaps for Milwaukee’s Southside community.
SSCHC is a key stakeholder in improving the health and well-being of all Milwaukee’s residents. In 2018 alone, SSCHC had 173,328 individual visits, 63% who live at or below the federal poverty level. The project is expected to offer services to a similar patient demographic and nearly 90% of the patients are expected to be Hispanic/Latino or Black/African American.
“The demand significantly outpaces supply for safety net behavioral health care services on Milwaukee’s near south side. Layer on top of this the impact of COVID on our community, and the need for mental health and support services has never been more acute,” said Dr. Julie Schuller, President, and CEO of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. “The New Market Tax Credits provided us with much-needed capital to expand our presence and increase access to behavioral health and substance abuse treatment for the under- and uninsured in our community.”
The Mental Health Support Center is the hallmark of the project where SSCHC will provide a seamless continuum of care. Patients will have access to mental health and substance abuse services and certified peer support specialists who play vital roles to help patients move forward in their recovery. As a provider of Comprehensive Community Services (CCS), the SSCHS will facilitate patient access to other services such as primary care, employment supports, peer support, therapy, medication management, among other many vital services. In addition to behavioral health clinical services, this building will provide needed capacity for SSCHC administrative functions.
Within this location, the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Department (BHD) will be a tenant. For nearly a decade, BHD has been working to shift away from providing institutionalized care on its Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus to offering mental health and substance use services in community-based settings. This partnership between SSCHC and BHD is a critical component of the Milwaukee Psychiatric Crisis Service Redesign project, is sponsored by the Milwaukee County Executive and health system leaders.
FCI is proud to collaborate with such an impactful organization like the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. They provide an invaluable service to the communities they serve and will help change the lives of countless individuals.