Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $550,000)
Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD), in collaboration with Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS), requests $550,000 in federal funding over 36-months in order to improve public health and safety responses to and outcomes for individuals with Mental Health Disorders (MHDs) or co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (MHSUDs) who come into contact with the criminal justice system. This program will be jointly administered by ACPD, which is responsible for criminal justice activities, and JFS, a mental health agency.
This project will serve Atlantic City, an urban resort city located on the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. Atlantic City’s population is 38,466, with more than 27 million visitors a year. The target population includes individuals experiencing homelessness as well as residents with MHDs or MHSUDs. There is a strong prevalence of MHDs and MHSUDs among Atlantic City’s homeless population, which is significantly higher than both state and national rates. In addition, homelessness is inextricably linked to systemic racism, which is evident in Atlantic County’s homelessness data. While Black residents are 14.2% of the population in Atlantic County, they represent 38.5% of those experiencing homelessness. In addition, ACPD receive thousands of service call a year related to residents experiencing MHD or MHSUD.
ACPD and JFS previously received funding under BJA’s FY2020 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant, Award Number 2020-MO-BX-0024. This proposed project builds on their successful partnership to date. First, this grant will refine and enhance the work of co-responding teams made up of ACPD officers and JFS mental health professionals to provide outreach and diversion for the target population. Secondly, the project will include efforts to engage with underserved communities in order to address racial inequities and provide greater access to services. Finally, the proposed project will include department-wide training and use of a new ACPD data tracking system that can be used for individual follow-up, trend analysis, and outcome measures. ACPD and JFS will work with professionals at Stockton University to support project evaluation.