Kirsten Vincent Respite and Recovery Center

Independent Perspective 1692 with guest Kevin Smith talking about the Kirsten Vincent Respite and Recovery Center

Host:  Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Kevin Smith, Director of Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC), and I'm your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Kevin.

Guest:  Thanks for having me, Ernie.

Host:  And you're here today to talk about an important new community outreach MHPC is doing in collaboration with a couple of other community organizations. Could you tell us all about the Respite and Recovery Center?

Guest:  Yes, yes, very excited to talk about it. But I'd like to give just a little bit of background. The Kirsten Vincent Respite and Recovery Center is actually the brainchild of the late Dr. Kirsten Vincent, who we suddenly lost last year. The partners were Spectrum Health and Human Services and Recovery Options Made Easy where Kirsten was the CEO at one point, and our organization, MHPC, who's part of the WNYIL. We have a collaboration where our Renewal Center, MHPC’s Renewal Center is going to provide peer support between the hours of 11:00 and 3:00 and also there's a nurse on staff. Spectrum Health and Human Services is actually going to operate daytime urgent care and Recovery Options is going to have respite care facilities in addition to the respite housing or the respite beds that they currently run in their houses.

Host:  Alright, so just so people understand when you say that MHPC provides the peer aspect of things, how would you define peer?

Guest:  Well peers are individuals with the lived experience who also identify as individuals with mental health disabilities or behavioral health issues who've come to a point in their lives where they can offer support to individuals who may be experiencing similar or, or issues that are like something that they've went through and help the individual to reach a point where they can avoid hospitalization. That's the whole thing. It's a crisis diversion Center, where we want to help individuals who may be experiencing some sort of difficulties in their lives related to their mental health or whatever's going on in their lives, to keep them from ending up in ECMC, CPAP or emergency room, or any other kind of behavioral health facility when we can help them to stay in the community.

Host:  That’s a very exciting and ambitious effort I dare say. How long has the Kirsten Vincent center been operating?

Guest:  The Renewal Center, well, the Kirsten Vincent Respite and Recovery Center is actually brand new. We actually just got our final zoning piece in place last month, and we're hoping to have the new facility with all three partners in there up and running and operating by the summer of 2022. Right now, individual organizations are running similar programs out of their prospective locations, like right now, our Renewal Center which is going to be moving to the 111 location is operating out of 327 Elm Street between the hours of 3:00 pm and 11:00 pm. seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Host:  And when you say 111, that's 111 Maple Avenue in Buffalo?

Guest:  111 Maple Street in Buffalo, New York, is actually right at the foot of the medical corridor, right in the Fruit Belt down the street from a local Fruit Belt organization who was vital in supporting us and getting our word out to the community to also help us get this project off the ground, Fruit of the City.

Host:  Kevin, we're totally out of time. If people have questions, how can they reach you?

Guest:  If you have questions you can reach me at 716-836-0822 extension 147 or by email

Host:  Thanks for being with us Kevin. You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest has been Kevin Smith, Director of MHPC, and I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.