One crisis responder says the city is “living up to its commitment.”
A year after Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by police while in the throes of a mental health crisis, Philadelphia is making progress on the promise to reform the city’s response to emergencies of that kind.
Many of the logistics are still being ironed out, but John White, executive director of a mobile crisis center called The Consortium, is pleased with the efforts so far.
“As far as the mental health piece is concerned, they’ve lived up to their commitment,” White said. “They’ve expanded the services, they’ve added some bells and whistles to improve outcomes.”
Mayor Jim Kenney proposed a $13 million boost for Philly’s crisis response system in his budget last spring. Since then, officials have been negotiating the funding, dividing it up, and selecting contractors, according to Christina Crews, a spokesperson for the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.
In his original pitch, Kenney earmarked $7.2 million to beef up the city’s existing mobile crisis response teams and $5.2 million for a new mobile triage unit, including close to $1 million for a DBHIDS co-responder program in the 911 dispatch room.
What do we know about the progress of these promised reforms? Here’s where each of the proposals stand.