Greenhouse group home to stop current service due to state budget constraints

The Council of Community Services in Gillette, WY (photo credit: CCS)

A local group home in Gillette will lose half of its funding next fiscal year following a $15 million slash to the Wyoming Department of Health budget, community officials said Friday.

The home, the Greenhouse, a supervised group home living facility for adults with severe mental illness and homelessness, has been traditionally funded and operated by Campbell County Health (CCH) and the Council of Community Services (CCS) using a state community mental center grant for the last 15 years.

But with the state budget crisis, that grant has now been reduced by more than $800,000, which is not enough to fund the home in its current capacity, according to an April 23 joint press release from CCH and CCS, even with drastic cuts to operations and services.

By July 1, 2021, current services offered at the Greenhouse will no longer be provided, per the release, though CCH and CCS continue to evaluate other ways that the Greenhouse can be used in the future with the new budget and will seek other partnership opportunities.

Colleen Heeter, CCH chief executive officer, advised that her organization will continue to partner with the CCS to replace the gap in mental health care that closing the Greenhouse group home will leave behind.

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The Greenhouse was a joy to operate, added Mikel Scott, CCS executive director, who said that the CCS and CCH are committed to finding suitable employment in the health industry for the seven full-time Greenhouse employees who will be displaced.

“Our employees put their hearts into their jobs,” Scott said in a statement. “They truly care about people and have dedicated their time- nights, holidays, and weekends- to serving others even when it is hard while doing it without a lot of recognition and thanks.”

For the last decade and a half, the goal of the Greenhouse has been to provide a stable environment to improve the quality of life for individuals with severe mental illness and to help integrate them into the community, according to the release.

The Greenhouse has provided temporary shelter for up to six residents with their own private bedroom, a group kitchen, living room, and exercise facilities for a maximum of six months. The program has helped residents find gainful employment and given them practical guidance for day-to-day activities such as paying bills, cooking, housework, among others, per the release.