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Bello address focuses on opioids, housing, and mental health

Monroe County Executive, Adam Bello, gives his state of the county address on healthcare at Monroe Community Hospital where he announced new initiates to help address the housing crisis.
Max Schulte
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, gives his State of Public Health address at Monroe Community Hospital.

County Executive Adam Bello says Monroe County is becoming a healthier place for all, thanks to many collaborations and community partnerships.

That was one of the messages Bello conveyed Monday as he gave a State of the County Public Health address at Monroe Community Hospital. Bello told the audience he can confidently say that no other county in the state has invested as much to ensure that naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, is as widely available as it is here. The drug is available for free in boxes placed in parks, businesses, and other locations throughout the county.

"We distributed over 20,000 naloxone kits from these boxes since we installed our first naloxone box in July 2022," Bello said. "We've installed boxes and locations all over the county because we know an overdose can occur anywhere at any time.”

Bello said the opioid crisis is something that needs collaboration at all levels. He added that the county has created a network by working with government partners, business leaders, community organizations, and the city of Rochester, all willing to host the boxes.

He says the county also partners with the New York Recovery Alliance, which empowers people who have been affected by substance use disorder to distribute naloxone to individuals in high-risk settings, and in hot ZIP codes.

During Monday's address, Bello also announced that the county Office of Mental Health has released an app for Apple and Android phones. It provides direct access to suicide prevention tools, emergency crisis services and options for inpatient and outpatient treatment.

It also links users with community programs around behavioral health, family support, and more. And it can direct people to the naloxone boxes.

Bello said because cellphones are nearly everywhere, they can be a powerful tool to help people struggling with mental health and substance use issues.

"This is an effective way to quickly and accurately provide vital life-saving information," Bello said. "So I'd encourage the community to download the app today, scan the QR code, go to the app store and search for Monroe County Office of Mental Health. I'm telling you right now this app is going to save lives."

Bello also announced that the Moving Forward Family Shelter will open this summer. It'll be the first county-owned emergency housing facility and will provide wraparound services to stabilize families and connect them with permanent housing.

Plans for the shelter emerged last summer and were initially met with some pushback from neighbors. It's in a three-story building at the edge of Corn Hill that was once a hotel.

"Since 2021, we have seen a 223% increase in family placements," Bello said. "Finding appropriate housing for these families has been a challenge."

The county executive will deliver more addresses on other subjects, including public safety, in the coming weeks.

Jeremy Moule is a deputy editor with WXXI News. He also covers Monroe County.
Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.