The Kenosha County Division of Aging, Disability, and Behavioral Health Services, in partnership with other agencies, will offer a mobile human services unit that will travel through targeted areas throughout the summer beginning this week.
Housed in a small bus, the Human Services on the Go unit will offer on-the-spot Narcan training, information about substance abuse treatment options, harm reduction information regarding street drugs containing fentanyl, and COVID-19 vaccinations.
“This is really all about taking the services that are available to help people, out to the people who might need them but may not be inclined to come to us in office or clinical settings,” said Rebecca Dutter, director of the Kenosha County Division of Aging, Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “We want it to be productive. We want to go where the people are.”
The Human Services on the Go unit will travel through specific areas on certain dates, stopping as needed to engage with possible clients.
These areas were determined based on overdose call data collected by emergency medical services departments countywide, said Kenosha County Behavioral Health Manager Kari Foss, the organizer of this initiative.
“What we’re trying to do is provide Narcan training for people who might want to use Narcan or feel like they might have the opportunity to use it,” Foss said. “We want to provide information about medically-assisted treatment to people who are using drugs. And we want to make COVID-19 vaccination convenient to those who may not have had easy access to clinics.”
Narcan is a medication that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Those who complete a short training session can leave the unit with a free supply provided by Kenosha County Public Health.
Kenosha County Public Health Specialist Jim Poltrock will be on the unit, administering COVID-19 vaccinations to those who wish to receive it. Clients will be able to choose between the Moderna, Pfizer, and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (Those who select Moderna or Pfizer will need to go to a local clinic to receive their second dose.)
“This fits in well with Kenosha County Public Health’s current mission of taking the vaccine out into the community,” Poltrock said. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to reach people who otherwise might not have the opportunity or the inclination to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
In addition to the behavioral health information and vaccinations, Foss said she is seeking donations of food from restaurants or grocery stores, or cash donations to purchase food, to offer to people who visit the mobile unit.
The Human Services on the Go unit will follow this schedule:
- June 22, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Various locations in Twin Lakes, Wheatland, Salem Lakes.
- July 2, 2 to 6 p.m.: The Lincoln, Brass, Uptown, and Downtown neighborhoods in Kenosha.
- July 22, 2 to 6 p.m.: The Wilson Heights neighborhood, Birch Road, and the Washington Road corridor between 22nd and 39th avenues in Kenosha, including a stop at the Shalom Center.
- July 28, 4 to 8 p.m.: Various locations in Pleasant Prairie and Bristol.
- Aug. 20, 2 to 6 p.m.: The Washington Road corridor between Sheridan Road and 22nd Avenue in Kenosha and Sheridan Road in Somers.
The Division of Aging, Disability, and Behavioral Health Services is organizing this effort in partnership with Kenosha County Public Health, Professional Services Group, and the Kenosha County Opioid Task Force, now a subcommittee of the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition.
For more information about Human Services on the Go, or to arrange for food donations, please contact Kari Foss at 262-605-6686 or Kari.Foss@kenoshacounty.org.