The Howard G. Buffett Foundation Commits $30M to Build a Community Care Campus in Decatur, Illinois to Improve Public Health
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation today announced a $30 million commitment to construct a new 17-acre healthcare and social services “Community Care Campus” in downtown Decatur to address public health needs and treat the growing drug addiction epidemic in Macon County.
The campus will be home to four new facilities that will be owned by Crossing Healthcare. Situated on 17 acres of a 21-acre parcel of land between Central Avenue and Marietta Streets, the site is currently home to Crossing Healthcare and the future site of Northeast Community Fund. Three state-of-the-art facilities will be operated by Crossing Healthcare: a 31,000 square foot detox and residential rehabilitation building with 8 detox beds and 48 rehabilitation beds; an 18,000 square foot outpatient treatment center; and a 17,000 square foot transitional housing facility with 64 beds. Baby TALK will also relocate to and operate an 18,000 square foot building supporting their core mission of early childhood development.
“In the six years I have been involved with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, I have seen firsthand the enormous human toll caused by drug addiction,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “Drug addiction is devastating our communities and affecting people at every age and income level. Drugs are killing more of our neighbors than firearms and auto accidents combined. It is clear to me that it will take a significant investment of public and private resources to stop the trajectory of addiction rates and it will take a comprehensive approach to reverse current trends and heal communities. I hope the Community Care Campus can serve as a model for how we do that.”
The Community Care Campus will bring together a multidisciplinary, multi-agency approach to addiction treatment, and will be among the first of its kind in the United States. Unlike many other rehab facilities, the campus will go beyond offering detox support and will provide quality of life benefits and additional services to assist clients in regaining their independence while living in a sober environment. The campus will feature a dental clinic, cafeteria, classrooms, a computer training lab, transitional housing, an industrial kitchen, a three-quarter mile walking path, a garden and orchard, a park and outdoor pavilion, an indoor exercise facility and a movie theater.
“Sheriffs see the increasing impact of opioids and opioid-related crime in their communities, and because of a lack of treatment resources, sheriffs must deal with the problem of addiction and mental illness inside their jails,” said Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). “Sheriff Howard Buffett’s unprecedented commitment to create a 17-acre, state-of-the-art Community Care Campus to combat drug addiction in Macon County will meet an urgent need to get treatment to those who desperately need it. The type of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach that Sheriff Buffett has taken will change the lives of countless people in his community, and Sheriff Buffett’s leadership will be a model for other communities looking for new and innovative ways to battle this national epidemic.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois saw an increase of 48.8% in all drug overdose deaths and a 76.2% increase in opioid deaths between 2013 and 2016. The Community Care Campus will significantly increase treatment options for Macon County residents suffering from all types of drug addictions, including opioids, regardless of their ability to pay.
“Making the decision to seek treatment for a substance use disorder is very difficult,” said Tanya Andricks, CEO of Crossing Healthcare. “When access to treatment is not available to someone seeking treatment, the opportunity is often lost. We want to be sure that when people in our community are ready and willing to seek treatment for their addiction problem that we can give them the help they need.”
Currently, there is a statewide shortage of both detox and residential rehabilitation beds for those suffering from the effects of opioid and other drug addictions. Medicaid recipients seeking treatment can face a waiting list of many weeks. In Macon County, there are currently only 16 licensed residential rehabilitation beds as compared to the more than 90 beds in Sangamon County and the more than 30 beds in McClean County.
The partnership with Baby TALK will also support the needs of the broader Decatur community. “Currently, Baby TALK is spread out in Decatur at four location sites,” said Cindy Bardeleben, interim Executive Director of Baby TALK. “The new location will provide significant cost savings to include additional space for the Early Head Start program, child care center based care, home visiting offices and family literacy classrooms. By being housed at one location strategically located near Crossing Healthcare, Baby TALK can provide families with intensive immediate support to ensure that families struggling with substance abuse and in need of medical and mental health services receive wraparound support to begin to build healthy family relationships.”’
In addition to supplementing vital social services in Macon County, the project will also have a major economic impact. The construction phase will support approximately 200 jobs and have a total economic impact of $40.6 million. Once the campus is operational, the facilities will employ approximately 200 people and have an estimated annual economic impact of $13.7 million.
This project will be developed through a collaborative effort involving many individuals and with support from local law enforcement, the City of Decatur, and many area agencies. "This is another great opportunity for Decatur to work with Mr. Buffett,” said Julie Moore Wolfe, Mayor of the City of Decatur. “His support and willingness to help make Macon County a healthier community is deeply appreciated. It is my hope that the entire City Council will offer their support as well as we move forward with this project.”
Construction is projected to take 18 - 24 months and is being led by Romano Company.