GCC, the largest community power organization in Northeast Ohio, has claimed victory in our efforts to make a much-needed offsite (separate from any jail or prison facility) pre-booking mental health and addiction crisis diversion center a reality in Cuyahoga County as the County announced it has contracted with the ADAHMS Board for Oriana House to operate and house a diversion center on Cleveland’s East Side.
The creation of a crisis diversion center has been a top priority for GCC over the past three years, culminating in an action last February attended by over 1,000 of its supporters where key public officials pledged their support for such a facility.
“This announcement is a win for our community, one we have been working for quite some time,” said the Reverend Jawanza Colvin, pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland. “We know that diversion centers are critical to transforming criminal justice. By directing mentally ill and addicted individuals toward treatment first we are one step closer to fixing a broken system.”
GCC built a coalition of stakeholders in Cuyahoga County who came together in support of the creation of one or more diversion centers. “GCC has been a linchpin in navigating around the wheel of entities and changing cast of individuals involved in discussions to make the diversion centers a reality,” said Marcia Egbert, program director at the George Gund Foundation. “This announcement wouldn’t have happened without their forceful, consistent and tireless work on this issue.”
“Without GCC’s leadership, Cuyahoga County would not be as close as it is to having an alternative solution to the incarceration of people with mental illness: the establishment of an offsite pre-booking mental health and addiction crisis centers,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Michael O’Malley.
“We congratulate County Executive Budish and Oriana House on bringing this critical addition to our community over the goal line,” said the Reverend John Lentz, co-pastor of Forest Hill Church Presbyterian. “We along with our partners in this effort will continue to work to ensure that the crisis diversion center is a success and follows the GCC roadmap that County officials endorsed at our action last February.”