The Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department is currently advancing the 2019 plans to create a crisis diversion facility that will serve individuals in Orange County experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis after funding was approved by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners.
The BOCC formed a subcommittee in 2019 to create plans and make recommendations for the facility. For the new fiscal year, the BOCC added $2 million to the budget for the planning of the facility.
The subcommittee also hired an architect to begin searching for land to house the facility.
Jamezetta Bedford, the chair of the BOCC, said the subcommittee is currently searching for a property that is near a hospital or emergency room.
Currently, if someone in Orange County places a 911 call for a mental health crisis, either an ambulance or law enforcement officer is dispatched. Travis Myren, the deputy county manager, said the goal of this facility is to provide an alternative option.
“There can be a therapeutic approach to addressing the immediate crisis that someone is suffering, and then creating a discharge plan,” Myren said.
Bedford said the subcommittee has done virtual tours of similar urgent care and diversion facilities in Asheville and Durham.
The BOCC estimates an up-front cost of $20 million to build the facility. Bedford said she thinks the county budget definitely has room for the initial construction, but maintaining the day-to-day costs might be too expensive.
“The concern for commissioners is, will we have the funding to actually operate it,” she said.