WASHINGTON [3.18.22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that she has secured $136,000 in federal funding to deliver much-needed facility renovations and provide necessary equipment to the Hiawatha Mental Health Center in Winona. These improvements will help expand mental health and substance use care to more residents, particularly those in underserved communities.

“We need to start treating mental health with the same urgency we treat physical health, and that starts with making sure everyone has access to the care they need,” said Senator Smith. “I’m proud of our work to secure this funding, which will help more Minnesotans, particularly those in underserved areas, get access to high-quality mental health and substance use treatment.”

“With the tremendous support of Senator Smith and her staff, funding will come directly to the Winona Community and surrounding area to create a better new space at Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center’s Sarnia Clinic in Winona,” said Erik Sievers, Executive Director of the Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center. “This funding will enable our agency to quickly convert space into group rooms, meeting rooms, and treatment rooms.  This space will become an area where teams internally can better connect, and providers and support staff of our agency can better help those with behavioral health needs. This new space, will enable all of us to better connect with others throughout the region through enhanced technology within the new space and improved utilization of the space.  We are beyond grateful for Senator Smith, her staff, and the US House and Senate.”

For over 55 years, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center has been providing mental health and substance use services to Southeast Minnesota residents. This new funding will help the health center in its mission to become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) and get Minnesota State Certified in the coming months. As a CCBHC, they will be able to expand access to community based mental health and substance use disorder services and integrate their behavioral health and physical health care services.

Smith has long pushed for legislation to support CCBHCs, including as a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan Excellence in Mental Health Act, which would expand access to community mental health services around the country.

Smith has been actively involved in securing federal funding for projects benefiting communities in Minnesota through a process called “Congressionally Directed Spending” (CDS). During the CDS process, Smith has considered project proposals and advocated for funding in close coordination with leaders from across Minnesota.

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