Gov. Otter proposes crisis center in southern Idaho

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 13, 2016 at 12:51 p.m.



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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is proposing $1.72 million in funding for a crisis center to be built in southern Idaho.

Eastern Idaho got a state-funded center in 2014 in Idaho Falls and Coeur d'Alene opened a crisis center for northern Idaho in December, The Times-News reports (http://bit.ly/1OPaoVv).

Department of Health and Welfare spokesman Tom Shanahan said if lawmakers leave the third center in the budget, it will likely go in southwestern or south-central Idaho.

The centers are open 24 hours a day and provide temporary services to people having mental health or substance abuse crises. The longest a patient can stay during one visit is 23 hours and 59 minutes. The centers provide somewhere to go other than jail or a hospital.

"It's just much more of an effective and humane way," Shanahan said.

For cities interested in hosting the proposed center, they will need to provide some of the money to support it after state funds run out, which takes strong local buy-in and commitment. For southern Idaho, cities like Twin Falls would have to compete with the Boise area for the center.

In the Magic Valley, law enforcement agencies are in favor of getting a crisis center.

"We toured the Eastern Idaho facility, and I think it's a great benefit to the community," said Lori Stewart, spokeswoman for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. "It offers help and resources to people who might otherwise fall between the cracks. It gives them a place to go where there are immediate resources. We would love to have it here."

Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said she would like to see a crisis center in the Magic Valley but that law enforcement, health care providers and law enforcement would have to cooperate to make the system work.

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com

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The Associated Press

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