City officials awarded a bid to Chelsea’s CAPIC for wrap-around services to help the homeless and addicted communities that often loiter in Bellingham Square.
A similar bid for clinical services to help the same communities is expected to be awarded to Bay Cove Human Services in the next few days.
The bid for $100,000 went to CAPIC this week to provide immediate services when City Navigators need services referrals for clients wishing to get help. The City has two Navigators, with one position currently vacant, that work with the homeless and drug-addicted people that congregate in Bellingham Square to get to know them and to be an outstretched hand offered to those who may decide they want help.
Currently Rev. Ruben Rodriguez is the City’s lone Navigator.
“This will be about making sure Navigators now have a lot of resources when they engage someone in need of help,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We’re probably won’t see the fruits of this for six months. We’re certainly going to track the work and what resources we’re providing. That’s part of the contract – to keep track of the metrics.”
Ambrosino said the bid award had nothing to do with a once-controversial proposal for a walk-in center by CAPIC in the old Cataldo Building on Hawthorne Street. That idea has been removed from the table by CAPIC, which is searching for an alternate location.
Ambrosino said the award means there would be priority services available to the Navigators when they pick up the phone and have a client who needs help.
“It will mean that they get immediate attention when they drive a client down or pick up the phone,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Bay Cove award would involve having dedicated beds available to the Navigators for detox. Where that detox would occur was not spelled out and it is up to Bay Cove to provide those beds in a nearby location.
Ambrosino said he hopes that a second Navigator could soon be put in place by North Suffolk Mental Health, which has the contract to supply the City with Navigators. A second Navigator was in place at one point, but that person moved on to a new position. Since that time, Rodriguez has been carrying the task alone.
“It has been a slow process, but we hope to get another Navigator out there soon,” he said.