Residential facility for people with mental illness closing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Residential facility for people with mental illness closing

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LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -

One of eastern Iowa's largest residential facilities for people with mental illness is closing.

After more than 25 years of working with Linn County, the Abbe Center for Community Care will close on Sept. 30.

"They can not afford to continue losing the level of money that they've been losing," said Linda Langston, a Linn County Supervisor.

The center provides transitional and residential services for adults with mental illness.

Right now there are 75 residents at the center. Less than half are from Linn County. The rest come from across the state.

"This is a regional center, and this is a very serious blow to our ability to provide beds for people who need mental health services," said State Sen. Rob Hogg.

Hogg believes this closure may have been avoided if Gov. Branstad had not vetoed a bill that would have provided an extra $13 million to mental health service providers to use as a safety net as the state goes through mental health redesign.

A spokesperson for Branstad told KWWL the funds were not in the best interests of taxpayers.

"Gov. Branstad has signed millions of dollars in additional funding for mental health services in Iowa, while also championing a modernization and redesign of the mental health system," said Tim Albrecht, communications director for the Governor, in a statement.

As they prepare to close, the Abbe Center's 80 employees are working with the county to find new homes for residents.

"We will try our level best to work with Abbe to make sure that people get to appropriate placements," said Langston.

They'll move people from the home in Marion to wherever there's an open bed.

Last year, the Iowa legislature passed a plan that replaces county-based mental health services with a regional system. This means people will still be able to get services, but several programs are ending.

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