Anne Arundel County announced Monday it will use a new $500,0000 state grant to expand the effort to help people coming to police stations and firehouses for addiction treatment resources.
Just days after the county quietly marked a year of unexpected numbers at its Safe Stations program, county Health Officer Fran Phillips released a statement saying that the county Mental Health Agency was awarded the grant by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission. It will fund a second response team for firehouses and police departments.
The money marks the second grant the state Department of Health has awarded funds to the county Health Department for the program, which has grown significantly since it was launched on April 20, 2017.
Phillips lauded the grant, writing in her statement it "will support the successful Safe Stations program that offers opioid detoxification and treatment resources 24 hours daily year-round."
She was not available for an interview on the expansion.
However, it quickly took off and the latest grant comes after officials say they've seen as many as seven people in a single day utilize the program. It grew to the point that the head of the Crisis Response Team, Jen Corbin, made an informal request to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department not publicize that program's one-year anniversary last week, for fear of attracting more attention.
There's also a concern additional strain is being placed on the program by out-of-county residents from areas with fewer resources.
The county also received $120,000 in state funding for a two-year program in Brooklyn Park to promote healthier diets by expanding access to better food and creating program to help residents learn more about cooking.
The health department said in a release the grant will fund the creation of a food pantry along with nutrition and cooking classes in both in English and Spanish.
When Brooklyn Park was targeted to as part of a state-funded effort to revitalize the region in 2016, economic consultants pointed to an overabundance of convenience stores compared to larger grocery stores.