We recognize the importance of community. That’s why many of our programs are designed to support individuals as they develop positive community connections as part of their recovery process.
In addition, we provide support within the community to ensure that everyone has access to the mental health services they need. We often collaborate with numerous partners to create and deliver initiatives that help all members of our community.
Community Support Program
The Community Support Program serves Chittenden County adults 18 and older with severe and/or persistent mental health challenges who meet specific eligibility requirements set by the state.
The program helps people to recover and lead fulfilling lives. Professional clinical staff provide assessment, case management, supportive counseling, employment services through Career Connections, housing assistance, residential services, social and recreational opportunities, medical evaluation, and psychiatric consultation.
Clients participate in establishing an individualized treatment plan and goals. Services are provided at Howard Center sites, community locations, and in client homes.
- ACT 1/Bridge
- Eldercare Program
- Howard Center Arts Collective
- Living Skills Support
- Mental Health Court
- Reach Up
- Street Outreach Program/Community Outreach Program
- Westview House
Individuals of any age may contact ACT 1 if they feel they are incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs. Or, they may also be referred by the police, friends, family, clergy, or a community member. Once at ACT 1, individuals have a clean, safe, supervised setting where they can stay while they regain their sobriety.
Following an initial screening, individuals may stay at ACT 1, be referred to the hospital for medical attention, released to a family member, or referred to protective custody.
ACT 1 follows a goal-directed approach toward intervention and treatment and recognizes that many clients are in the midst of a life crisis. ACT 1 helps the person and family through the crisis, promotes stability, and recommends an appropriate follow-up level of care and assists with referrals.
The Bridge program provides short-term stabilization and detoxification in a non-medical setting for individuals ages 18 and older who are experiencing problematic alcohol or other drug use.
The Bridge program is staffed 24 hours a day. Related services may be coordinated with the University of Vermont Medical Center Emergency Department and through referrals to other Howard Center services, depending on each individual’s specific needs.
Bridge offers medical oversight, coordination of services for injection drug users, clinical assessments, and referrals for individuals needing more intensive treatment. Continuing care plans are developed with each client, and ongoing support after discharge is available through free, daily community support groups.
Clients are referred by the court system, primary care providers, friends, family, clergy, or a concerned community member, and by self-referral.
The Eldercare program at Howard Center is part of a statewide collaboration between Vermont’s designated agencies, such as Howard Center, and area agencies on aging to provide mental health treatment to elders in their homes.
The goal of the program is to make sure vulnerable and homebound elders ages 60 and older who are experiencing psychological or emotional distress have access to the help they need. The Eldercare program is able to work with individuals in their homes and eliminates barriers to treatment, such as transportation.
Howard Center Arts Collective
The Howard Center Arts Collective is a group of Burlington based Howard Center artists. Throughout the year, they gather to create and discuss art, plan exhibitions, and take field trips to nearby museums and exhibitions.
Usually, the group sponsors about four exhibitions a year, including a spot in SEABA’s annual Art Hop.
For more information about the Collective and upcoming events, contact Kara Greenblott at 802-598-7420.
View samples of artwork and learn more about the artists at the Howard Center Arts Collective.
Living Skills Support
Many Howard Center programs help people gain life skills so that they can live more independently. For individuals with mental health challenges, life skills such as budgeting, cooking, shopping, getting around town, and making friends are skills that encourage individuals to be more independent. Many of these skills are practiced in Howard Center residential settings.
Mental Health Court
Unlike other courts, the Mental Health Court is a problem-solving court that brings together judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, and Howard Center to help non-violent offenders find restoration in recovery and become productive citizens.
The Court links offenders who would ordinarily be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections to Howard Center and other community resources. Individuals must meet the court requirements and agree to:
- Mental health assessments.
- Individualized treatment plans.
- Ongoing judicial monitoring to address both the mental health needs of offenders and public safety concerns of communities.
Rapid Intervention Community Court (RICC) is a collaboration among the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office and community partners to provide treatment and services for some of the common root causes of criminal behavior such as substance use. Howard Center provides assessments, treatment, and referrals.
Individuals are referred through the Department of Corrections and/or the Chittenden County State’s Attorney Office.
Howard Center works in partnership with the state Reach Up program to help eligible parents gain job skills and find work so they are able to support their children. Howard Center clinicians and wellness coaches work with clients on Reach Up who are struggling to meet their goals due to substance use and/or mental health challenges. The specific services include Howard Center assessment, individual and group therapy, service-coordination, and community support. Through this close working relationship with Reach Up, we are able to provide immediate access, engagement services, and a community-based service approach that helps overcome barriers like transportation and child care. This program is offered in Chittenden and Franklin Counties.
For information about Howard Center’s collaboration with Reach Up, call 802-488-6000.
START (STABILIZATION, TREATMENT AND RECOVERY TEAM) – A Community Peer Support Team
Through outreach, engagement, and connection, START peer community recovery specialists offer mental health recovery support that is strengths based and hope driven. Our stories, though diverse and unique, emphasize resiliency and recovery as we move toward creating relationships that allow us to learn and explore possibilities together. Our work incorporates and reflects the principles and tasks of Intentional Peer Support. Our team is available seven days a week, and peer community recovery specialists work from 11 am – 7 pm. The team provides community-based peer support services and support by telephone and video telehealth. To make a referral call 802.488.6000 or 802.488.6464
Street Outreach and Community Outreach Programs
Street Outreach Program
The Street Outreach team works with individuals in the downtown Burlington Business District who have mental health, substance use, homelessness, and unmet social service needs. The team helps to coordinate services for those individuals, and the primary goal is to increase access to services for all individuals. A secondary goal is to address concerning behaviors that require immediate intervention but do not rise to the level of an emergency response.
The Team works closely with service providers, police, and merchants to address behaviors that may impact the downtown area, stigmatize vulnerable populations, or put them at risk of losing access to resources or incurring criminal charges.
Community Outreach Program
The Community Outreach Program in the participating communities of Colchester, Essex, Hinesburg, Milton, Richmond, Shelburne, South Burlington, Williston, and Winooski was inspired by Burlington’s Street Outreach model. In the participating towns, Outreach Specialists work in partnership with local and regional law enforcement to respond to individuals with unmet social service needs, often due to mental health or substance use issues.
Westview House is a day program for Chittenden County adults who have been diagnosed with a major mental illness. Clients live in a variety of residential settings, including Howard Center supported homes, and they visit Westview during the day. Lunch is served every weekday so that clients can get a nutritious meal while socializing with others. Individuals are encouraged to volunteer or seek part-time work, often through Career Connections, a Howard Center supported employment program for individuals with chronic mental health challenges.
For more information about Westview and other Community Support Programs, call 802-488-6000.
Photo: Members of the Street Outreach Team.