LAKESHORE CLUBHOUSE TO CLOSE IN FEB 2018 - A mental health center on West Michigan's lakeshore will soon close its doors.
Members of Lakeshore Club House on Century Lane got word Thursday, November 30, the facility would be closing.
The chair of the Community Mental Health Board of Directors says a lack of funding led them to the difficult decision to close the facility in February.
"It's a gift from God. If it wouldn't be for this place I wouldn't be here," said Mark Allen Bowling, a Clubhouse member, as he fought back the tears.
The center helps those battling mental illness, get on their feet and give them real life opportunities to work, grow and be independent.
Last week, advisory board members got the news they dreaded.
"The disappointing part beyond the fact that it is closing, is that consumers weren't given any information of what might takes its place," said Sandi Beute, Clubhouse Advisory Board Member and sister to a member.
Ottawa County Community Mental Health officials tells WZZM 13 budget cuts led to the decision to close and unfortunately this won't be the last of the cuts. Officials say they anticipate cutting $1 million to $1.2 million out of the 2018 fiscal budget.
"People with mental illness need a fighting chance and recovery is just by far the most important thing," Joshua Ebbens said.
Ebbens and Beute are are not giving up easily -- the two are working to prove just how necessary the Clubhouse is to it's dozens of members.
"This is the first time he's been able to make choices in his own life, prior to coming here that was never an option for him," said Beute, refferring to her brother.
"We're not going to go down without a fight, we need to be heard," Ebbens added.
Officials with Ottawa County Community Mental Health did address the mental health millage recently passed, saying the money was simply not enough. They say in the last three years, their budget has been reduced by $6 million.
Executive Director, Lynne Doyle shared with us this statement saying in part, "It was a difficult decision to make, but we feel we can provide a majority of the services that were being offered with existing programs within our agency..".
The facility is expected to close February 1, 2018.
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