In 2010, Community Counseling Services helped 1,851 individuals in Lowndes County, or 3.25 percent of the population, with mental health or drug and alcohol dependence.
Factor in the family and friends of the individuals helped, and the impact of Community Counseling is even larger, the agency”s administrator, Lina Beall, told Lowndes County supervisors on Monday.
Lowndes County contributes $81,717 to Community Counseling”s $27 million budget each year. The agency serves seven counties and operates seven facilities in Lowndes County alone, including separate areas for servicing children and the elderly.
The agency recently purchased a nine-unit apartment complex for short-term stays for clients “while they are reintegrating into the community,” Beall said.
Community Counseling also purchased the old Mary Holmes Community College in West Point and has renovated much of the campus for administrative offices and, in the future, treatment facilities.
After treatment, Community Counseling helps its clients return to the workforce and can even put them to work for a time, at Sunnyside Resale in West Point. Sunnyside is owned by Community Counseling, and the agency offers jobs to its clients, as needed.
The store resells furniture and books. Some Community Counseling clients are working to refurbish furniture before it is resold.
In closing, Beall requested the supervisors review their millage allotment to Community Counseling, which has remained the same for the 35 years the agency has been in existence. The agency has been able to expand its services and make good use of its resources. Increased funding, she said, would allow it to further its reach.
The supervisors took no action on the presentation, though District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks requested an opportunity to tour Community Counseling”s newly renovated administrative office on Main Street. And Board President and District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders suggested Beall tour the old Lowndes County Health Department on Military Road. As a former medical facility, Sanders said the building might be of use to the agency, which Beall noted tries to renovate rather than build new, when possible.
The 12,500-square-foot, two-story former health department has been empty since a new facility opened in East Columbus in August 2010. Supervisors since have declared the property surplus and are taking offers on the building.
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