Danville: Mental Health Response Among City Allocations For Federal Funding | New

Danville city council voted unanimously last week to approve a resolution determining how to commit federal funds allocated to the city, intended to help recover from the economic blows suffered during the pandemic.

Council members warmly received a staff report from City Manager Joe Calabrigo on October 5, with recommendations on how best to use the more than $ 5 million in funding given to the city under the American Rescue Plan. Act.

Federal funding has been hailed as a “golden” and “once in a lifetime” opportunity, with discussions highlighting the importance of using it wisely. The board agreed the staff had done it and praised them for their efforts.

In particular, council members hoped that funds committed to measures aimed at public health and safety would send the right message to the community, following a national review targeting the community in the midst of the police officer’s trial. Danville Andrew Hall.

Hall, a county sheriff’s deputy in the Danville Police Department, is in the middle of a manslaughter trial in the shooting death of Laudemer Arboleda in 2018, to which he pleaded not guilty in self-defense.

After returning to work after Arboleda’s death and before being indicted by county prosecutors in this case, Hall shot dead Tyrell Wilson, a homeless man who was holding a knife when he approached the officer near a Danville viaduct in March. The district attorney’s investigation into Wilson’s death is ongoing.

“I’m a little disappointed that, you know, people are wondering if we were oblivious to what happened with Tyrell Wilson, oblivious to the area of ​​mental illness, and noting as we come out of the pandemic that we are not. not know what it is about, “said board member Dave Fong. I also believe there are some who do not believe that we are in the business of promoting health and safety. “

The resolution includes the allocation of funds, with $ 900,000 earmarked for local nonprofits and utilities, and the earmarking of funds for three designated areas. This is $ 250,000 for mental health services, $ 500,000 for services for the elderly and $ 100,000 for services for the homeless. In addition, more than $ 3 million is expected to be spent on improving the city’s infrastructure, focusing on areas such as cybersecurity, water quality and downtown improvement.

The earmarked funds are available to the winners without further action on the part of the board. The board will be taking further action in the future to clarify how to use the total of $ 850,000 in earmarked funds at future meetings.

While the exact use of the earmarked funds has yet to be determined, board member Robert Storer has suggested that the $ 100,000 for homeless services be earmarked in Wilson’s honor.

“This money is rightfully earmarked, to help a good cause, and by contributing it on behalf of Tyrell Wilson sends a strong message to the community that we care, not only about the problem and the extremely unfortunate circumstances surrounding the incident, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do, ”Storer said.

Storer noted that while this wouldn’t change the outcome of Wilson’s death, it could send the right message to the community following the event.

One of the organizations for which funding is allocated under the resolution is the Discovery Counseling Center, which is expected to receive $ 100,000 to support its work on community health and wellness. Kathy Chiverton, executive director of the center, was one of many voices applauding Storer’s suggestion, noting that Wilson’s death highlights the need for mental health services, in addition to homeless services.

“I think, as board member Fong points out, this is a great opportunity to show and demonstrate the deep care that this city has for those who are very vulnerable to mental health issues as well as roaming, ”Chiverton said.

Vice Mayor Newell Arnerich said he was okay with these funds being used as a way to highlight the city’s commitment to supporting vulnerable populations – as Hall’s trial and details of the death de Wilson make national headlines.

“He is not the only homeless person to have died in our city, but it was certainly the most recent in very difficult circumstances,” said Arnerich.

The funds allocated to community organizations should be distributed by the end of the month. Those reserved for designated purposes will be discussed at future municipal council meetings.

The full video of the October 5 meeting is available here.

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