Renewal Center's move

Independent Perspective 1743 Kevin Smith on the Renewal Center's move to Kirsten Vincent Respire 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:  Thank you for having me Ernie.

Host:  And you're here because there's a change coming in the not too distant future of an important community program of MHPC which many people would know as the Renewal Center. First, for the benefit of people for whom this is something new, could you tell the purpose of the Renewal Center?

Guest:  Sure. Our Renewal Center which is currently located at 327 Elm Street, is based on the National Living Room model, and it's a community crisis diversion center that offers people experiencing mental health crisis as they defined it, an alternative to hospitalization. Our setting looks like a literal living room.

Host:  And you'd say that this is a preferable alternative to what people in crisis often wind up in, which is the emergency room?

Guest:  Yes, we're not trying to replace the emergency room. But a lot of folks who go to the emergency room don't get admitted for mental health services. So we want to offer those folks a safe, calm environment to come to speak with the peer support specialists. They have an option of meeting with one of our nurses, and our goal is to help them stay in the community and out of the emergency room.

Host:  And for I guess it's been around for about five years, and MHPC operates it with a couple of community partners. Who are they?

Guest:  Well, our Renewal Center currently is operated by MHPC. But once we move into our new location, we'll be in the Kirsten Vinson Respite and Recovery Center, which is a collaboration between Spectrum Health and Human Services and Recovery Options Made Easy. So each of us will be in a nice new building, providing services to help individuals stay out of the hospital.

Host:  Ah, are there any additional facilities, services or whatnot, that the Vinson Center can offer compared to the current one?

Guest:  Oh yeah, like I said, our current location at 327 Elm Street is just us, you know, I mean, the Renewal Center, MHPC. But once we go into our new location, it will be sort of you know, being a one stop shop for individuals experiencing mental health. Spectrum Health and Human Services will be providing the clinical piece. Recovery Options Made Easy will have respite housing, if you need to get away from your house. I think you can stay in our respite center or their respite center for up to 28 days. And then there's the Renewal Center, which you can get peer support referrals. You can talk to a nurse or any other service that you think can help you stay out of the hospital, we'll be more than happy to connect you with those services.

Host:  So I guess you'd say that at the Kristin Vincent Center they're incorporating the Renewal Center into the services of the other facility?

Guest:  That is correct, we’ll be one of the three agencies providing the desperately needed services to people experiencing mental health.

Host:  And I gather that relocation date hasn't been set yet, but you want to alert our consumers that it is in the offing.

Guest:  Yes, the tentative date is April 17. But I mean that could change so I like to say that we will be in our new location at 111 Maple Street and open for business between the next two to four weeks. Stay tuned.

Host: Well, I guess if people have questions, and they're already have a relationship with MHPC they should just talk to their counselor.

Guest:  Exactly. If you have any questions about the upcoming move or any other questions about the center, just speak to your current peer support specialist or certified peer recovery advocate or you can call me at 716-836-0822 extension 147.

Host:  You just answered my next question. Thank you so much for being with us, Kevin.

Guest:  Thank you Ernie for having me.

Host:  You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Kevin Smith, Director of MHPC, and I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.