New York City To Open First Support And Connection Center

Kristie Keleshian
February 19, 2020 - 4:32 pm
support and connection center

Kristie Keleshian/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City health officials announced Wednesday the opening of a support center for those who have had run-ins with the police but are not a threat to the public.

The Harlem Support and Connection Center is designed to bridge the gap between stabilization services and people who are considered by authorities to be a threat to themselves.

“It’s an opportunity to bring them to a space that’s open 24 hours a day every single day of the year to meet them where they are,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

The center is designed to be an alternative to emergency room visits for individuals who have mental health or substance abuse needs.

Those who have come into contact with police and are not considered threats to the public will also be escorted to the center and have a choice of whether or not they want to stay and be connected to the short term services to get them on the right path.

“It gives us an alternative at three o'clock in the morning where someone doesn't rise to the level where they need hospitalization, but we know that they need some care, and it's always wonderful when you can connect a person to the right place,” says NYPD Assistant Chief Terri Tobin.

The center, operated by Project Renewal, will officially open on Feb. 26 and a second location, operated by Samaritan Daytop Village, will open later this winter.

The Support and Connection Centers will only serve people within the local precincts and can serve up to 25 people at a time. Together, the two centers are projected to serve about 2,400 people annually and will cost about $10 million annually over 10 years.