A year and a half ago, Emancipate NC started the Raleigh HEART Coalition to organize the community to bring an Alternative Response Program to Raleigh. Last night, Raleigh city staff presented the FY 2025 Budget Recommendations

Here is what the Coalition accomplished:

  • Raleigh is putting $380,000 in the FY 2025 Budget for a Crisis Call Diversion line that will divert mental health and behavioral health calls away from RPD. To do this, Raleigh is hiring three licensed clinicians for our 911 call center who will handle diverted calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week. Raleigh will also train all Emergency Communications Center staff to recognize when to divert mental health and behavioral health calls. This program will launch in January 2025. 
  • Raleigh is putting $205,000 in the FY 2025 Budget to establish wrap-around services for Care Navigation and Case Management. To do this, Raleigh is hiring two Peer Support Specialists and one Peer Support Team Lead in the Housing and Neighborhoods Department.
  • The Peer Support Team will directly connect Raleigh residents who are diverted through the Crisis Call Diversion line to short and long-term resources and begin holistically serving the Raleigh community to improve Raleigh’s mental health crisis.
  • Additionally, Peer Support Specialists will join ACORNS referral calls to provide a more community-driven response. This program will launch in January 2025.
  • Raleigh is using the $800,000 previously allocated to ACORNS through the American Rescue Plan Act to create a public-facing data collection system that will allow more transparency of ACORNS and help Raleigh residents hold ACORNS accountable. This money will also be used to provide public-facing data from the newly established Crisis Call Diversion line and Care Navigation and Case Management. Additionally, this money will be allocated towards non-law enforcement vehicles and a mobile office that will allow ACORNS social workers to be directly dispatched to mental health and behavioral health calls posing a risk of violence.

While there are still many issues with ACORNS, this is a huge step toward creating more transparency in the unit and giving the community tools to hold ACORNS accountable.

Raleigh city staff have been coordinating with Wake County staff to craft and implement Community Response Teams using Wake County’s Health and Human Resources. Raleigh City Staff have committed to bringing the plan it is working on with Wake County to Raleigh City Council in Fall 2024. Raleigh City Council has committed to using additional funds that will be available in the fall of 2024 to supplement any resources Wake County falls short of providing for the Community Response Teams.

While the FY 2025 Budget is allocating almost $600,000 towards creating key foundational components for an alternative response program, our work is not complete until we have a concrete plan for these Community Response Teams and a guarantee that they will launch in January 2025 with the rest of the alternative response program. 

Please take the time to thank City staff and the City Council for listening to the community and investing in alternative response in this year’s budget, while also making clear we will continue to hold them accountable for their commitment to bring forth a plan with Wake County for Community Response Teams in the Fall of 2024! 

You can do so by taking 2 minutes to participate in our letter campaign here!