The group was founded to build the initial operations of the Mental Health Transformation Center in Lubbock

Lubbock, Texas (KCBD) — The City of Lubbock and Lubbock County have agreed to an agreement to create a committee to oversee construction and initial operations for HOPE, a behavioral mental health crisis transformation center.

“It’s the first time, I think, in my history that we’ve got everyone together with the six partners,” said Councilwoman Latrell Joy.

Joy was referring to the West Texas Mental Health Collaborative, which will make up the steering committee. An inter-local agreement approved last week by the Lubbock City Council and the Lubbock County Commissioners Court constitutes the commission. Each contributed $3.5 million in ARPA funding to build the center.

Each member of the Cooperative, including the City of Lubbock, Lubbock County, UMC Health System, Covenant Health, Texas Tech University/Texas Health Sciences Center, and StarCare Specialty Health System will designate a “senior level” representative to the Steering Committee.

“[The HOPE Center] “It will be built on the property where StarCare is located,” said Joy. “This is moving forward with the architects so we can start building.”

StarCare CEO Beth Lawson told the commissioners that the committee will meet monthly. According to the agreement, the term expires a year after the grand opening of the center. During that time, he is tasked with recommending policies, improving coordination, and supporting construction and initial operations. It is also expected to make recommendations for future operations and priorities of the Centre.

“We’re in the enviable position of being able to expand services to help people avoid going to emergency rooms, jail, and naturopathic hospitals,” Lawson said. “We’re really excited about the additional ability to support people.”

The StarCare facility on East 19th Street is “bursting at the seams,” Lawson said, and he plans to expand with 15 more beds with his ARPA funds. Lawson believes that the expansion and the Hope Center will allow StarCare to provide assistance to more people who should not seek help elsewhere.

“One of the main goals of the referral center is to divert law enforcement out of prison, out of emergency rooms, and out of having to step out of their beat as they help people access health care services,” Lawson said. “My motto, maybe not day one, but hopefully last day of year one is drive, drive, drive away. We want to help law enforcement so they don’t have to get out of their car when they help people get to services.”

Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parish and Lubbock City Councilman Latrell Joy are expected to serve on the steering committee.

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