The ongoing financial crisis at Southeastern Center for Mental Health may be one step closer to sorting itself out.
Last night, New Hanover county commissioners returned two million dollars to Southeastern to help them get through the fiscal year.
Southeastern had asked the county to hold onto 5 million dollars, for construction of a new facility. That facility is now on the back burner, and the money is desperately needed.
Two million dollars may not solve all of Southeastern Mental Health’s financial problems, but they said that money would help.
“Because there are people knocking on our door, knocking on other people’s doors, calling, needing help, and without those funds it becomes and very insecure environment,” explained Kenny House of Coastal Horizons.
Southeastern Mental Health Director Foster Norman said, “The issues that we’ve had the past two fiscal years will be corrected to some extent.”
Southeastern starting cutting their budget in October of last year; they were having a hard time paying their providers, so they asked affiliated mental health agencies to cut back on their client services. This 2 million will help fill in the budget gaps.
Jason Thompson, a NHC commissioner, said, “One of the reasons I voted for it is because there are a lot of providers that just aren’t getting paid, those are people who live in our community and provide a service, and there need to be funds there.”
Coastal Horizons is one of the largest mental health and substance abuse providers in the tri-county area, serving Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties. During the financial crisis, they had to cut back on some of their services.
The fiscal year lasts through June 30th. Southeastern’s new director Foster Norman said he is making every effort to even out their financial problems for the year to come. “It’s a band aid for this year.”
Foster Norman also said by the end of this fiscal year, the providers that weren’t paid for their services this past year, will be.