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State Steers Federal Money To Emergency Mental Health Center Being Built In Milwaukee

A drawing of the new Emergency Mental Health Center, with construction in the background.
Chuck Quirmbach
A drawing of the new Emergency Mental Health Center, with construction in the background.

An emergency mental health center being built on Milwaukee's near north side is getting nearly $6 million from the federal and state government.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced the funds on Tuesday, explaining that most of the money comes from this year's COVID-related stimulus legislation, commonly known as the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. The rest will come from a federal block grant.

The emergency facility will be a joint venture between Milwaukee County and four local health systems. Bob Duncan chairs the Mental Health Emergency Center Board. He says there's already money set aside to finish building the center, which is slated to open next spring. Duncan says the funds announced by Evers will help the center's long-term sustainability.

"There's a $12 million loss we're expecting each year from this, that we'll have to help make up. With the governor's investment from the state, that will help lessen that load. So that gives us more resources to continue to invest long term in mental/behavioral health," Duncan told WUWM.

Duncan says the health care partners, Froedtert Health, Ascension Wisconsin, Advocate Aurora, and Children's Wisconsin, also hope philanthropists will help fill the funding gap.

The new emergency mental health facility at 1525 N. 12th Street will replace emergency county services offered at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. Officials say the new site will be much closer to the great majority of people who need the services.

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