ST. LOUIS -- Social distancing rules are requiring more meetings take place by video conferencing for families, businesses and non-profits. The cost to make the switch can be challenging for non-profits at a time when all fundraisers have been cancelled.

To help, St. Louis MHB awarded $500,000 in one time grants to 39 agencies. Formerly known as St. Louis Mental Health Board, MHB collects the revenue from 2 property taxes in St. Louis and disperses the money to organizations providing mental health services and services for children.

"It's not that we had extra lots of money from our taxes dollars. We pulled these from our reserves because we knew this was an emergency," said executive director Jama Dodson.

The Children's Advocacy Center in St. Louis is one of the agencies receiving a grant. Executive director Jerry Dunn, Ph.D said the agency will continue doing forensic interviews of sexually abused children in person. But that the agency had to find a safe way to continue providing counseling services.

The agency does about 8,000 hours of trauma-focused counseling each year.

"They were able to pivot pretty quickly and move to a remote tele-health type format so that we could still continue to provide ongoing treatment for children and families in the midst of this stay at home order."

Dunn said the funding will pay for the technology that the agency can loan to families of victims.

MHB is a special taxing district in the City of St. Louis authorized by Missouri state statutes and local ballot initiatives to administer public funds for behavioral health and children’s services for the benefit of City residents.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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