BELLINGHAM – Compass Health is introducing an innovative new mobile model, the Community Outreach and Recovery Support (CORS) Team, which provides outreach-oriented mental health services including peer supports to meet the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability due to mental health symptoms.
This program will replace the Rainbow Recovery Center when it closes at the end of June, after nearly two decades of operation as a multi-purpose drop-in site offering peer recovery services for mentally ill individuals.
“Many of our clients told us that having to visit a specific location for services created barriers to care and treatment, and that it would be better if we could meet them in the community,” said Anne Larson, director of Whatcom County for Compass Health. “I am really looking forward to how this new program will increase our opportunities to meet and support our clients’ needs, regardless of their location.”
The mobile nature of the CORS Team will enable Compass Health to effectively serve existing Rainbow Recovery Center clients, while also reaching others who may need services but have previously been unable to access them. The CORS Team will continue the Rainbow Recovery Center’s work, serving mentally ill individuals who need additional support to access and maintain benefits, food, vocational support, healthcare and housing. The program will also build trust and relationships with community members, by maintaining consistency in when and where it operates on a daily basis.
Rainbow Recovery Center services will cease on June 30, 2017, immediately followed by the July 1 launch of the CORS Team. While the CORS Team will be based at the main Compass Health Whatcom County clinic on McLeod Avenue in Bellingham, Wash., most of its work will occur in the community and at sites serving the homeless, such as the Mission Drop-in Center.
The CORS Team will include four full-time employees, including a master’s level clinician service provider and program supervisor; a housing clinician to help people transition out of homelessness and maintain stable housing, and to liaison with shelters and jails; and two certified peer counselors. The peer counselors provide an especially important support system to help clients regain lives of recovery and purpose, as they have personally experienced the issues that the CORS Team are addressing.
“We have had a lot of success with the Rainbow Recovery Center, and we look forward to continuing to progress our mission of improving care delivery for our patients,” said Tom Sebastian, president and chief executive officer for Compass Health. “With a challenging rental market and growing patient demand, this new program is an ideal solution to devote more resources directly to caring for the people who depend on our support and services.”