Photo courtesy of Consejo Counseling and Referral Service. The behavioral health facility, headquartered in Renton, has 10 other locations, including this office, pictured, in Columbia City.

Photo courtesy of Consejo Counseling and Referral Service. The behavioral health facility, headquartered in Renton, has 10 other locations, including this office, pictured, in Columbia City.

Local behavioral health facility gets $2 million grant to serve youth

The recipient, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, will now be able to serve 1,000 youth per year

An outpatient health facility headquartered in Renton will be awarded a $2 million grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, which has several locations throughout the Puget Sound, is one of 14 recipients of the grant, totaling $23.8 million in awards. Most of the providers, like Consejo, serve children and minors and provide local alternatives for people being discharged from Eastern and Western State Hospitals. Consejo specializes in culturally competent outpatient services for the state’s Latino communities.

Matt Mazur-Hart is a member of the Department of Commerce Behavior Health Facilities team, the program that provides this funding to renovate existing behavioral health facilities or increase the capacity of new facilities.

Mazur-Hart said that Consejo will be using the award to make major renovations to the Renton facility, including rebuilding 70 offices, treatment rooms, conference rooms and reception areas. That work is expected to start later this year.

Consejo estimates that the renovations will allow it to service 1,000 youth annually, up from the 400 it previously assisted.

The agency’s services include outpatient for mental health, inpatient for substance abuse treatment, psychiatric care, transitional housing, intervention and outreach for domestic violence and sexual assault services. Consejo has 10 offices outside Renton, including in Columbia City, Kent, Bellevue and Tacoma.

Consejo has operated in Washington for almost 40 years. Its website states that most of the clients are immigrants from Latin America who speak Spanish, and that the agency has a national reputation for addressing the diverse needs of adults, children and families in these communities. The agency moved its headquarters to Renton in 2018 to serve clients that, due to the cost of living, had moved from the Seattle area to South King County.

The awards were made from funding provided to the Department of Commerce in the state 2020 supplemental capital budget, Mazur-Hart said.

According to a press release from the Department of Commerce, the investment is part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s five year plan for the state’s mental health system to end civil patient placements in larger state hospitals.

“We want what is best for patients,” Inslee stated in the release. “Our ongoing commitment to invest in this change will make a tremendous difference for patients, their families and the people who are charged with their care and their safety.”

The grants were awarded through a competitive process conducted by Department of Commerce, Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services and the state Health Care Authority. The projects funded by these grants must maintain the facilities for at least 15 years.

“This funding addresses a fundamental need in our health care system and strengthens communities,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown stated in the release “Adding capacity for care in local settings, where patients can be closer to families, friends and support systems, is crucial to more successful outcomes.”

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