CNY Care Collaborative Awards AccessCNY $250,000 to Establish Respite Home

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By James T Mulder

Date: 1/24/18 8:29 AM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A respite home designed as an alternative to hospital emergency rooms has opened in Syracuse for adults with mental health and drug abuse problems.

The home at 2320 James St. can accommodate up to six people who need help, but not emergency care. Guests can stay for up to seven days.

AccessCNY, a Syracuse agency that serves people with disabilities, opened the home earlier this month. It runs several other homes in the area for people recovering from mental health issues. AccessCNY was created in 2015 from the merger of two agencies, Enable and Transitional Living Services.

The home is known as Berkana Crisis Respite. Berkana is a Norse word that means new beginnings and growth.

The home is run by peer support staff who have struggled with their own mental health issues, said Matt Seubert of AccessCNY. They help guests create recovery plans focused on conflict management, coping skills and connections to other community services.

AccessCNY received a $250,000 two-year grant to open the house from the Central New York Care Collaborative, a partnership working to improve and coordinate health care in the region. One of that group's goals is to create more community-based options for people going through mental health and substance abuse crises who often end up in emergency rooms.

Guests must be 18 or older, have mental health conditions and live in Central New York. They can be referred by clinicians, police, a mobile crisis team, friends or family, but cannot be forced to go there, Seubert said.

"They are the only ones who can bring themselves to the house," he said.

Initially the service will be free, but eventually the program may seek reimbursement from health insurers, he said.


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