Press Releases

Congresswoman Trahan, Sheriff Koutoujian Highlight $1.65 Million Federal Investment for Middlesex County Restoration Center

LOWELL, MA – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), and Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, Co-Chair of the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission, hosted a roundtable discussion to outline the plans for the Middlesex County Restoration Center. Once completed, the program will create greater opportunities to divert individuals in behavioral health crises away from jails and emergency rooms and to immediate treatment. This center is made possible in part by $1,650,000 in federal funding Trahan secured during recent government funding negotiations.

“The Middlesex County Restoration Center will build on the important work being done by the Sheriff’s office to provide compassionate, expert care for individuals suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders in our community. This federal investment will help save lives, reduce recidivism, and make Middlesex a statewide leader in these services,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I applaud Sheriff Koutoujian for embracing this transformational approach to the way Middlesex County responds to these emergencies, and I’m grateful to Dr. Danna Mauch, Senator Cindy Friedman, Representative Ken Gordon, and the entire commission for bringing their knowledge and expertise to this program.”

“I want to thank Congresswoman Trahan for her commitment to securing this vital federal funding to support the work and mission of the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “For four years advocates, law enforcement and health care leaders have worked collaboratively to establish a comprehensive plan that will improve outcomes for individuals in behavioral health crisis by reimagining how we deliver services. With this federal funding, we take a major step towards implementing this critical project that will make our communities healthier and safer.”

“Congresswoman Trahan has clearly seen the extensive work and planning that has gone into identifying a difficult issue facing the Commonwealth and drawing on well-established best practices to develop solutions for Middlesex County and the Commonwealth. Her support is so critical to moving into the next phase, which is piloting a Restoration Center model that will reduce arrest and hospitalization for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. I am excited to work with her on obtaining this critical funding to make these needed services a reality,” said Danna E. Mauch, PhD, Co-Chair of the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission and President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.

The center’s services will include triage and assessment, crisis stabilization beds for up to 24 hours, sober support beds for up to 24 hours, crisis respite beds for up to 2 weeks, a multi-service center with housing navigation, financial services navigation, legal services navigation, and related services, as well as case management and aftercare planning. Once implemented, this pilot facility will serve as a model for a statewide network of behavioral health crisis and urgent care services and wrap-around support to divert people from unnecessary arrest and hospitalization.

Today’s discussion took place at Billerica Town Hall. Trahan and Koutoujian were joined for a roundtable discussion on the funding and what it means for the crisis-diversion center by State Representative Ken Gordon, Billerica Town Manager John Curran, Billerica Police Chief Roy Frost, National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts Deputy Director of Programs Eliza Williamson, Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Director of Public Policy Abby Kim, and Chelmsford Police Lieutenant Todd Ahern.

“Today marks another important step toward making the Middlesex County Restoration Center a reality. This federal funding will help propel the Center into its implementation phase after many years of hard work and planning,” said State Senator Cindy Friedman. “I am so grateful to Congresswoman Trahan for her partnership, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside Sheriff Koutoujian, Danna Mauch, Rep. Gordon, and others on this important initiative.”

“I'm deeply proud to be a part of this innovative effort to address the Commonwealth's mental health and substance crisis,” said State Representative Ken Gordon. “The work we've done thus far to establish the Middlesex County Restoration Center shows that we can provide the support our people need without arrest or unnecessary hospitalization. I look forward to working with Co-Chairs Mauch and Koutoujian, Congresswoman Trahan, and all of our partners to see this project to fruition.”

“NAMI Mass is tremendously grateful for Congresswoman Trahan's support and advocacy in securing the $1.65 million dollars in Community Project Funding for the Middlesex County Restoration Center. This marks a watershed moment in this Commission's work to divert Massachusetts residents experiencing mental health crises from the criminal justice system and languishing in emergency departments,” said Eliza Williamson, Deputy Director of Programs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Massachusetts. “We believe the Middlesex County Restoration Center is a great step toward alternative crisis response for residents of Massachusetts. Plans for the Center include a sober unit, crisis stabilization services for urgent psychiatric support, residential respite, access to peer support, and recovery coaches and social services navigation and assistance – all demonstrably effective methods for preventing future police involvement and unnecessary, often stigmatizing trips to the hospital for individuals living with mental health conditions.”