Bell County moves forward with diversion center
Belton, TX- Bell County’s vision of a diversion center is about to become a reality. On Wednesday, September 29, county officials announced the purchase of the former Luvida Memory Care building, located on Loop 121 near the Bell County Correctional Complex in Belton.
The diversion center’s mission is to provide an option for law enforcement agencies and hospitals dealing with people in mental health crisis. In the past, these patients were most often transported either to a hospital emergency department or to the Bell County Jail.
“These places are not intended or equipped to serve patients with mental illness,” County Judge David Blackburn said. “Our goal is to identify these people and connect them to the care they desperately need.”
During some planning stages of the diversion center, county officials had considered building a new facility to meet the needs. However, acquiring the existing 17,000 square foot facility offered several advantages.
“We’re actually getting more space for less money,” Judge Blackburn said.
The vacant long-term care facility will require minor renovations. Once this work is complete, the diversion center is expected to open in September 2023. The initial plan is for it to house both a mental health triage area and a 16-bed residential crisis centre. Central Counties Services will be the provider of crisis assessment and residential services at the facility
As officials weigh renovation options, they are reluctant to leave much of the facility in its current state.
“If this is going to serve the purpose I hope,” Judge Blackburn said, “there will be more than one need coming through the door, and we want to make sure we are in the best position to adapt to these challenges once we are operational.
This project is a partnership between Bell County, Central Counties Services, Baylor Scott & White, and AdventHealth Central Texas.