© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

People's Health Center set to get more federal funding for psychiatric center

Updated at 10:45 pm to correct spelling of psychiatric in headline.

A proposed outpatient psychiatric treatment facility for uninsured adolescents and children will get an additional $2 million in federal funding.

The city agency that oversees the distribution of federal Community Development Block Grant dollars plans to re-distribute about $7 million in unspent funds from prior years. Some of the leftover money dates back to 2008. Block grants run on a Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 schedule.

The nonprofit health-care provider Betty Jean Kerr People's Health Center initially requested $3 million for 2015 to help build a new 20,000 square-foot outpatient center near its clinic on Delmar in the West End.  Its initial allocation was only $1 million, but the redistribution boosts it to the full amount. The project is slated to cost $4.5 million. 

Cozy W. Marks Jr., the president of People's board, said the additional block grant dollars put his agency in a great place to get much-needed psychiatric care to underserved communities.    

"With everyone happening out there that’s really detrimental to the community, we want our young people to know that there’s someone who really cares," Marks said. He added that having the building near an already existing health center may help reduce some of the stigma that can be associated with the need for mental health treatment because kids can act as though they are going to the dentist or to get some other kind of medical care. 

The block grant reallocation still needs the approval of the city's Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Fred Wessels, the executive director of the agency that handles block grant funding, said it should happen before the end of the year.

Other projects that will receive funding including city-operated emergency homeless shelters, and repairs to city recreation centers.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.