FLINT, Michigan -- The need for mental and physical health services for children has always been present, but the COVID-19 pandemic intensified those needs, with many kids experiencing heightened emotional and mental health issues as a result of the isolation that occurred during long quarantine periods.
A new facility being constructed by Genesee Health System
(GHS) will soon offer comprehensive health services for children all in one space, on Saginaw Street near I-69 in Flint. GHS held a groundbreaking ceremony for the GHS Center for Children’s Integrated Services building on July 13. The facility will bring all current GHS children’s program areas, including Neurological Center for Excellence, Children’s Autism Center, and Child and Family Services, to one location.
Danis Russell, CEO of Genesee Health System, noted that the programs are currently spread out in multiple locations and that those locations are all in rented buildings. This building will consolidate those services in a 60,000 square foot space. The new building will be owned by Greater Flint Mental Health Facilities Inc., a supporting organization of GHS.
“This will be a one-stop location for all of our children and family services in Genesee County,” he said. “That includes all behavioral, physical, and ancillary services.”
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and Uptown Reinvestment Corporation are among the organizations supporting construction of the facility, which will be funded through a mix of private and public donations and grant funds.
In addition to the increased number of kids dealing with emotional or physical health issues related to the pandemic, Flint also has a need to deliver services to kids impacted by the water crisis. The facility will make it easier for staff to provide services and for families to be able to seek multiple services in one location.
“It is an investment in our community, but it also protects our strongest investment we can make, which is in our children and our families,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.
The building, located between 9th and 10th streets, is possible after existing vacant properties on the site were demolished earlier this year. The building was designed by HED and is being built by DWLurvey Construction. The facility is expected to bring approximately 49 new jobs to Flint.
Tim Herman, president of Uptown Reinvestment Corporation and CEO of the Flint & Genesee Group, also noted that the project helps support revitalization of the Saginaw Street corridor south of downtown.
“This corridor has needed new investment for some time,” Herman said. “We are working hard to make it more inviting and demolishing other properties south of here. This might be the first (new development in the corridor), but it won’t be the last.”