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Emergency meetings following Jerome Golden Center closure, action teams

Posted at 9:46 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 06:02:51-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Weeks after the sudden closure of the Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, an emergency meeting on Thursday looked to address the needs of hundreds of clients and workers.

County and city officials say the over a dozen flyers for referrals on the doors of the now-closed center is evidence they are committed to solving this problem together.

“We all are working together to make sure there is no interruption of services for our clients,” said Taruna Malhotra, assistant director for Palm Beach County Department of Community Services.

Over the last month, the group that managed the now-closed center began outsourcing behavioral and mental health services. While Malhotra says county and city officials formed “action teams” to ensure referrals – posted on all entrances of the site stayed the same. The first emergency meeting was held on Oct. 29. The second Nov. 21. Another meeting is scheduled for December.

“I think the takeaway from this meeting is everyone has to come together,” Malhotra said. “It’s not only the government who can solve the problem. All non-profits, partners, 2-1-1 and Mental Health America.”

Of the 131 clients housed by the now-closed site, Jennifer Ferriol, director of Housing and Community Development for City of West Palm Beach says they’re working to ensure all clients have a home.

“There’s not one individual that has lost housing,” Ferriol said. “There’s a huge housing component. We want to make sure these individuals stay housed.”

On Monday, the collaborative effort continues when a “centralized” hotline with 2-1-1 is established to support needs, demands and eliminate confusion. The Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network (SEFBHN), National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI), 211 Helpline, and Mental Health America (MHA) are behind the network.

“At a time when we are in desperate need of more inpatient beds and mental health services, the Golden Center has had to close its doors. It will take all of us working together to help pull the pieces together for those who were receiving treatment,” said Sharon L’Herrou, president and CEO of the 211 Helpline.

Dial 211 or text to 898211 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you any questions, or need help navigating issues related to the Golden Center closing. Online chat is also available at