ROCKFORD & FREEPORT: Bustos Secures Funds for YMCA of Rock River Valley, Rosecrance Outpatient Clinic

The funding was included in the FY22 omnibus legislative package which will be signed by President Biden in the coming days. 

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced that she has secured more than $1 million for a Youth Equity Center at the YMCA of Rock River Valley and to help establish a new outpatient behavioral health care clinic at Rosecrance in Freeport. The funding package has passed the House and will be voted on by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden in the coming days.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, my top priority is bringing taxpayer dollars back home to support our communities,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that $750,000 in federal funding will be coming to The YMCA of Rock River Valley along with $300,000 to help establish a new outpatient behavioral health care clinic at Rosecrance in Freeport. These transformative investments will help make a Youth Equity Center and new health care clinic a reality in these communities.”

“The YMCA of Rock River Valley is incredibly grateful to activate this investment to better serve northwest Rockford. Congresswoman Bustos has shared our vision to create a center that meets the ever-changing community needs. Right now, the need is academic, social, and emotional support for students – particularly those at West Middle School. Newly renovated spaces will allow more robust programming with everything from maker spaces for creative exploration, to a remodeled kitchen to provide meals to fight food insecurity. The funds will help create a place for the whole family, complete with recreational space, childcare, and community meeting rooms. When we serve the whole family, we strengthen the community. We are so incredibly grateful for the support,” said Brent Pentenburg, CEO of the YMCA of Rock River Valley. 

“We are grateful that Congress is prioritizing the need for behavioral healthcare resources in our communities, and we applaud Rep. Bustos for her support. Rural areas with limited resources will greatly benefit from expanded access to care,” said Dave Gomel, CEO of Rosecrance Health Network. 

A breakdown of the funding can be found below: 

  • $750,000 for the YMCA of Rock River Valley Youth Equity Center in Rockford: Congresswoman Bustos submitted the request to create a Youth Equity Center at the YMCA of Rock River Valley to introduce programming focused on breaking the cycle of poverty and addressing social determinants of health by opening a Youth Equity Center. This center would address food insecurity & anti-hunger, support college & career readiness, increase child & family stability, promote healthy lifestyles, and increase social responsibility. The building will require some upgrades, including an updated kitchen, a fitness center and gymnasium, a music studio and a remodeled multi-purpose room. Programming includes a nutritional director, program staffing, and physical and mental health services, an after-school and a weekend and summer program, all designed to keep youth engaged and receiving the services that can help them build the necessary social determinants of health to be successful.
  • $300,000 to help establish a new outpatient behavioral health care clinic at Rosecrance in Freeport: Congresswoman Bustos submitted the request to fill a gap in services by providing access to critical treatment to patients, regardless of insurance coverage. In 2019, the FHN Memorial Hospital (FHN) Community Health Needs Assessment identified behavioral health care as a top priority issue facing the community, finding increasingly high levels of suicide and more emergency room visits for behavioral health needs. Unfortunately, the suicide rate was significantly higher in Stephenson County than the state, reflecting the need for more behavioral health services.

The proposed Rosecrance outpatient clinic will provide evidence-based care in a setting that is therapeutic and conducive for healing for mental health and substance abuse patients. The proposed clinic would be staffed with four clinicians – two mental health clinicians and two substance abuse clinicians and would offer at least 4 hours of telepsychiatry per week. The clinic would offer both individual and group services targeted to meet patient needs.

In addition to direct project funding, Congresswoman Bustos also helped secure support for a number of priorities for the Rockford and Freeport communities, including:

  • A provision encouraging NeighborWorks to work with community partners, like municipalities, land banks, community development organizations and nonprofits, to address the issue of abandoned and severely distressed properties, which aligns with Congresswoman Bustos’ Neighborhood Reinvestment and Revitalization Act.
  • Protection Against Flooding: The bill includes $275 million for the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, a tool that communities use to know which areas have the highest risk of flooding.
  • Over $331 million for air traffic control tower replacement: This is an increase of more than $276 million in funding. This support could help repair and replace outdated air traffic control towers, such as those at the Peoria International Airport and the Chicago-Rockford International Airport.
  • Protection Against Flooding: The bill includes $275 million for the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, a tool that communities use to know which areas have the highest risk of flooding.
  • $8 million in funding to help local governments create plans to fight the social factors that harm long-term health: This funding would address factors such as health care provider shortages, food deserts, unsafe and insecure housing and other environmental factors specific to local community needs. This provision aligns with Congresswoman Bustos’ Social Determinants Accelerator Act.
  • $25 million in funding for a pilot program in the National Health Service Corps: This provision will extend loan repayment for five years and provide $200,000 for providers serving in a rural area facing a health professional shortage. This aligns with Congresswoman Bustos’ Rural America Health Corps Act to help recruit and retain health care professionals to address workforce shortages and meet the needs of small towns across Northwest and Central Illinois.
  • A direction for states to utilize five percent of their Mental Health Block Grant for crisis care services: This will allow states to upgrade their crisis care programs and strategies. This provision aligns with Congresswoman Bustos’ Crisis Care Enhancement Act to bolster support for services amid the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis.
  • $10 million for new low carbon fuels and engine technologies: This funding will support the research and development of new engine architectures that integrate low-carbon fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, including the performance of these engines on higher blends of renewable fuels – which is critical to family farmers in Northwest and Central Illinois.
  • Support for small business succession planning to encourage the Small Business Administration to help develop guidance, training, best practices, workshops, and other resources: This will assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in establishing and executing a business succession plan. This is in line with Congresswoman Bustos’ Small Business Succession Planning Act.
  • A provision to encourage all federal agencies to purchase flags that contain 100 percent American-made materials: This is in line with Congresswoman Bustos’ All American Flag Act.
  • A provision to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review pending applications for advanced biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Support for improvements to veteran telehealth services: This support is critical to meeting the health care needs of our veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A provision encouraging the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) Veterans Transportation Program (VTP) to adopt on-demand shared ride service: This will increase transportation access, coverage and efficiency for veterans in rural communities.