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OMH recognizes Baltic Street AEH, Community Access as organizations receive Community Care Awards

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The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has recognized the work of Baltic Street AEH, Inc. and Community Access and has named the two organizations recipients of the annual OMH Commissioner’s Community Care Awards.

This was disclosed in a statement on Thursday June 16, 2022.

According to the statement, the award recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organizations who have furthered the OMH mission and made a positive contribution to the mental health system in their communities.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, said, “OMH has many great partners who are critical to the success of our efforts to increase access to community-based services and improve health outcomes for people living with mental illness. I am happy to recognize Baltic Street and Community Access for their work over many years providing assistance, services and hope to the people they serve.”

Taina B. Laing, Chief Executive Officer of Baltic Street AEH, Inc., said, “Since 2018, Baltic Street Adult Home Initiative Peer Bridgers have worked to assist class members integrate into the community of their choice. Peers have provided crucial supports through skills training and advocacy that have enhanced the dignity and quality of life of each individual that we serve.

“Peer Specialist supports are an integral part of all social determinants of health! We cannot allow for social or health policies to be written without the inclusion of the peer perspective and insight.”

“Community Access is honored by this recognition,” said Cal Hedigan, CEO of Community Access. “We have benefitted from a long partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health and are proud of the work we have done together—bringing the Community Access human rights-based approach of supporting people living with mental health concerns to thousands of New Yorkers each year.

“Our Peer Bridger team works tirelessly supporting thousands of adult home class members to envision and attain wellness and self-determination, and ensure they are able to make informed decisions about where they live. I am grateful to see their work recognized in this way.”

In 2019, Baltic Street and Community Access began working with OMH to provide Adult Home residents in NYC with appropriate housing alternatives.

Both agencies offer evidence-based peer support services that foster positive relationships with Adult Home residents based on empathy, trust, hope and health.

The Peer Bridger agencies provide outreach, engagement, wellness planning, as well as transitional/community support and community adjustment services.

The Peer Bridger agencies have been, and remain, an integral part of the success in helping nearly 1,200 Adult Home residents transition to supported housing in the community.

OMH’s Community Care Awards were created in 2019 to highlight OMH’s partners and stakeholders in local communities across the State that are helping to identify and eliminate gaps in services and are working to build strong community-based behavioral healthcare systems.

Input from these local partners helps OMH better understand regional needs and implement programs that will help people on the road to recovery from mental illness live their lives with a greater degree of independence and dignity.

Baltic Street is committed to providing peer recovery, person centered, trauma informed and compassionate services to people living with mental illness.

They began in 1996 working with OMH clinicians at South Beach Psychiatric Center and established peer support meetings in hospital and in community settings.

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