Gainesville, Fla. (September 2015) – Meridian Behavioral Healthcare has been awarded a $1,200,000 Offender Reentry Program (ORP) grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (HHS/SAMHSA).
“We are honored to be receiving this grant, the impact for incarcerated individuals suffering from mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders in our rural areas is significant. This will expand the reach of services and able them to recover.” Leah Vail, Forensic Program Director at Meridian.
Meridian’s ORP program will provide treatment and wraparound reentry support services to participants who are re-entering the community from local jails within Meridian’s 10-county extensively rural catchment area in North Central Florida. This focus area encompasses counties in 2 Florida Judicial Circuits: Circuit 8 – Alachua, Bradford, Levy, Gilchrist, and Union counties and Circuit 3 – Columbia, Lafayette, Dixie, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties. The award provides $400,000 annually over a 3-year period.
The primary goal of this program is to develop an integrated reentry system for these largely underserved areas that addresses substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders for justice-involved individuals, as well as addresses the individual’s multiple needs, including housing, employment, transportation and other supports.
This program will add up to 8 new positions at Meridian and increases services in these areas by up to 300%. “Meridian is excited to extend our criminal justice diversion programs across North Central Florida. Programs such as this not only provide much needed treatment, ensure public safety, they make it possible for those involved lead healthy productive lives in their communities.” Maggie Labarta Meridian President and CEO.