Flint is receiving a five-year, nearly $5 million grant for a program that works to prevent violence and offer trauma-informed care.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded the funds to the Flint Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) program.
“This successful renewal is due to the hard work of many individuals continuously showing the levels of need in mental health services in the Flint community,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “Trauma-informed work to support our residents will provide the resources and tools needed to reduce and eventually eliminate a multitude of health disparities while enhancing the well-being of Flint residents.”
ReCAST helps children and families in communities through violence prevention, community youth engagement, and trauma-informed behavioral health services. The grant is awarded to a total of nine organizations across the U.S. and lasts from 2021 through 2026.
“This grant considers the changing needs in Flint and is a great opportunity for expanded programming that will be both inclusive and resident-informed,” said Lottie Ferguson, chief resilience officer for Flint. “We are grateful to be one of nine municipalities in the nation given this incredible responsibility.”
The Flint ReCAST program works through mini-grants provided by the city of Flint to local community organizations. The program offers opportunities and training to youth in Flint with its community engagement strategies, the city of Flint stated.
“The work of this new project will center on 4 key areas: Behavioral Health, Race and Equity, Youth Support and Development, and Public Safety and Violence Prevention,” said Afton Shavers, project manager for the Greater Flint Health Coalition. “We hope to use these funds to provide Flint kids and their families with programs and services to build a safer, more vibrant community, while changing the narrative around mental health.”
Youth and families impacted by different sources of distress, including the Flint water crisis, receive help from ReCAST. The grant will be led by the city of Flint, in partnership with the Greater Flint Health Coalition and Michigan State University, who will serve as the evaluator.
Community partners and residents on a community advisory board will handle the ongoing development, implementation, and creation of a Flint ReCAST strategic plan.