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Local News

Measure B-funded facilities open

Five people outside a building, cutting a thick red ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors.
General Services Agency Director Janelle Rau, Interim CEO Darcie Antle, retired Sheriff Tom Allman, retired CEO Carmel Angelo, and 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak cutting the ribbon at the Regional Behavioral Health Training Center in Redwood Valley.

The Crisis Residential Treatment facility in Ukiah and the Regional Behavioral Health Training Center in Redwood Valley opened last week

May 4, 2022 — Two Measure B-funded facilities opened last week. The Regional Behavioral Health Training Center on East Road in Redwood Valley opened on Tuesday, after being remodeled. Some pieces of equipment, like a media cabinet for hybrid meetings, a virtual reality training program, and gun lockers, are expected to arrive soon.

The Critical Residential Treatment Center on Orchard Street in Ukiah is now fully licensed and opened last Monday, serving three clients.

The facility has eight beds that will be available for 30 to 90 days by adults who are in a mental health crisis but have not received a 5150, the designation that would lead to an involuntary 72-hour hold. Sarah Livingston, the crisis program director for Redwood Community Services, which is operating the CRT, said the facility fits smoothly with respite care. She said the facility will include peer support, case managers and rehab specialists, many of whom come from the RCS Madrone House, which is a respite center. “A respite house is set up to be immediate respite for someone who is just on the other side of a 5150,” she explained. “And so that’s been used for immediate stabilization, ideally for up to seven days. The CRT is where we take it one step significantly further. That 30, 60, 90-day model where we’re doing significant psycho education and other programming and allowing people to really get back on their feet as they stabilize.” Livingston said clients will be encouraged to take part in daily life outside the facility. “I think there’s this misunderstanding by quite a bit of the community, where they thought it was a locked facility,” she noted. “It is not a locked facility. Ultimately we want people to choose to be there, and they do have 24/7 support.” Livingston added that there will also be therapists available, though not always on site. “We can get folks into a pretty quick psychiatric appointment,” she added. She expects the facility to be fully staffed in another thirty days. “And I am certain we will fill those eight beds very, very quickly,” she predicted.

Once it is fully staffed, RCS plans to contract with Lake County to offer a bed to one of its crisis patients. The CRT was designed and built by architecture firm Nacht and Lewis for $2.6 million, a combination of Measure B funds and a $500,000 grant from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority.

The training center in Redwood Valley, formerly the location of the Jehovah’s Witness Church, was the first facility purchased with Measure B funds. The purchase price was $389,000, a third of which was covered by the sheriff’s office. A small building and a garage have been dedicated as a sheriff’s substation.

Sheriff Matt Kendall said he is waiting for the floor and drywall to be repaired after water damage caused by a broken pipe. But when he is able to use the building, he’d like to use it as a terminal for a dual response team with a deputy and a mental health specialist.

Dr. Jenine Miller, head of the county’s Behavioral Health Department, was on hand for the ribbon-cutting and a tour. She expects that the new training center will allow county departments to send more staff to more trainings nearby, rather than sending a limited number of people to be trained outside the county. As far as how sustainable the center will be, Miller said, “this really is the first year to look at how does the facility sustain itself, how much are we getting from the trainings versus how much are the costs to maintain the facility.” She plans to work with the General Services Department to present a plan to the Board of Supervisors, detailing the ultimate yearly costs of all the county’s Measure B-funded facilities, including the CRT and the Psychiatric Health Facility, which the Board decided to build at 131 Whitmore Lane in Ukiah.

Retired Sheriff Tom Allman, an original Measure B Committee member who remains the sheriff’s representative on the committee, said he hopes a $100,000 piece of virtual reality training equipment, paid for by the state, will be available by the end of June. He is looking forward to using the venue for trainings that he hopes will raise the standard of local law enforcement officers.

The Measure B sales tax will drop from a half-cent to an eighth-cent next year. “That money can be used for training and improved mental health services,” Allman said. “But there will still be costs to the departments.” One of the three-day trainings cost $12,000, but Allman said, “We want to spend that money. So we can have the best-trained first responders out on the street.”

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.