Centerstone asks Metro Council for $1.3 million in funding for i - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Centerstone asks Metro Council for $1.3 million in funding for its diversion program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Living Room Project identifies people suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues in Louisville and takes them in as an alternative to jail. 

On Wednesday, Metro Council's Health and Education Committee got an update on the pilot program, which is meant to help reduce the recidivism rate. It's meant to be an alternative to jail, and in 2017, Metro Council provided more than $300,000 to fund the program.

Centerstone is asking Metro Council for $1.3 million to fully fund the program for a year.

"My hope is that folks in Jefferson County will learn more about this model," said Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith. "And my hope is that the Metro Council will fully fund the living room model this year."

Tony Zipple, President and CEO of Centerstone Kentucky, which runs The Living Room, said the program is meant to provide a relaxed environment.

"Police will come by with somebody with a serious mental illness or an addiction, and within two minutes, they can drop the person," Zipple said.

Zipple gave Metro Council's Health and Education Committee an update Wednesday on the program's progress. So far, he said, it's served about 360 people.

Council members liked what they heard and believe the living room address the root problem.

"I know people have talked about it in terms of treating it like the disease that cancer is," Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet said. "That it's something that, while we might find a period of remission, it is always out there, and we have to address it as the disease that it is."

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