I recently participated in a meeting of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Agency Advisory Board (IRRRB) of which I am a member and serve as vice-chair.
We reviewed and provided a favorable recommendation to the IRRR Commissioner Mark Philips on a project of major importance to our region and the entire State of Minnesota.
North Homes Children and Family Services at Grand Rapids is proposing to expand and upgrade their current Community Mental Health Center including the addition of 32 treatment beds to their existing 20 bed facility.
The $6.5 million project will include a significant psychiatric treatment facility that will serve children from ages 11 to 18. This psychiatric residential treatment facility treatment model is new to Minnesota with only a few facilities currently in operation.
Minnesota currently has a serious shortage of adolescent residential mental health treatment facilities forcing many of our children to be housed out of state or sitting on long waiting lists for a treatment bed to become available within Minnesota.
This care model is designed specifically for serious & emotionally disturbed children that require an intensive care environment. Services will include psychiatric care, 24/7 nursing support, and traditional intensive mental health therapy in a residential setting.
North Homes has secured $4.7 million in private sector funding, the IRRR agency will provide a $1 million loan and a $285,000 infrastructure grant, The Minnesota Department of Health is providing a $200,000 grant and the Blandin Foundation is providing a $700,000 grant to move this $6.9 million project forward.
This is another important step forward in resolving the serious deficit of adolescent mental health treatment facilities in Minnesota. The project will take several years to become fully operational, but when completed it will provide an important opportunity for the children in our region to receive critical mental health treatment here in Minnesota.
I have long supported environmentally responsible mining and sometimes may sound like a broken record on the subject. It’s important to recognize that $1.3 million in funding for this $6.9 million project comes directly from mining related tax revenue. Minnesota is blessed with a rich venue of minerals. This is an example of how the revenue from those mineral resources is being invested to support our children in the region and as well as across the State of Minnesota.