Building an Addition for the Community Mental Health Board Gains Greater Reach

Article excerpt

The upcoming renovation of the Hanover Township Mental Health Board's satellite facility in Hanover Park is about one thing: bringing more services to more people.

Expansion of the building, at 7431 Astor Ave., will give more space to the agencies that use the facility and could also make room for new providers, said Mental Health Board Executive Director Eric Carpenter.

"A local mental health authority is a valuable resource," Carpenter said. "We want to bring as much as we can to the community."

As part of the renovation, the mental health board plans to remove the driveway on the north side of the building and replace it with an outdoor patio that will be used for counseling services. The entire project will provide an additional 1,100 square feet of usable space.

Construction is expected to start in the spring.

The mental health board started leasing the Astor Avenue building from the township in 1986. The building used to be the township's main office.

During the past 13 years, the building has developed into a multipurpose mental health facility, offering services ranging from counseling for domestic violence victims to transitional programs for the homeless.

The mental health board serves as "landlord" for the agencies who use the Hanover Park building. Although the bulk of the funding for the programs comes from the agencies, the mental health board does provide some additional program dollars.

Five agencies occupy space in the building: Peace Center, which provides services for the homeless; Renz Addiction Counseling Center, for substance abuse; Ecker Center for Mental Health; Children's Home and Aid Society, which runs the "Parent Care and Share" program; and Community Crisis Center, which provides counseling for victims of domestic violence.

Many of the agencies are based in Elgin and use the Hanover Park facility as a satellite office.

"It helps us reach more people," said Sharon Burner, a domestic violence program coordinator with the Community Crisis Center. …