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CareOregon and Central City Concern: A Whole Person ApproachWednesday, April 26, 2023
Central City Concern (CCC) is grateful for our partnership with CareOregon. From helping to fund a new electronic health records management system to being the presenting sponsor for CCC’s annual luncheon, CareOregon has been a steadfast ally in the mission to end homelessness. Recently, they provided significant funding for CCC’s newest program, Karibu (pronounced “kah-REE-boo”), which provides individualized stabilization and treatment services for Black and African American men who are involved or at-risk of involvement with the criminal justice system and who may have behavioral health needs.
Karibu offers a holistic approach, combining housing and clinical services. CCC Interim Director of African American Services Tori Hatter-Smith has found that when someone has housing and their basic needs met, like Karibu residents do, they are more willing to engage in mental health or substance use disorder services.
“We’re thinking about the whole person,” said Tori.
CareOregon covered 75% of the capital construction costs—investing $905,000 toward the project’s $1.2 million development cost—and is supporting ongoing clinical services at approximately $400,000 annually.
This investment is part of a portfolio of behavioral health investments aimed at stabilizing and strengthening our region’s behavioral health system. Since 2020, CareOregon has invested more than $110 million dollars in Oregon’s behavioral health safety net system.
“This program is filling a critical gap in our social safety net,” said Jill Archer, CareOregon vice president of behavioral health. “We know that African Americans are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, especially those with behavioral health needs, and yet there has been a significant gap in culturally specific services to support this community. Having a program like Karibu that is designed to fill this gap and do so in an inclusive, culturally specific way—it has the potential to be transformative.”
Tori says Karibu is already making a difference. The program had already begun offering outreach services before their building opened in March, and now people have moved in.
Just moving into a welcoming space can be life changing. “They’re able to say, now I have a place to call home,” said Tori. “They have some normalcy in their lives now, and we help them get to a place where they can start feeling self-worth again.”
The culturally specific environment is key. As Tori explained, “They think, I have a person who can relate to me. I have a person who looks like me. I don’t have to feel uptight or wonder about whether they’re judging me for what I’m about to say or how I said it. And for Black people, they can speak in their own language and just be themselves with their hair down.”
Thank you to CareOregon for helping to make Karibu possible.
This blog post has been published as a sponsorship benefit for CareOregon, the presenting sponsor of Compassion in Action 2022, CCC’s annual luncheon.