Eight years in the past, Deandre Kenyanjui was dwelling on the streets, battling habit and psychological well being. At this time he works on the Multnomah County Workplace of Shopper Engagement, the place his first main challenge was to steer the stakeholder engagement course of for creating the brand new Behavioral Health Resource Center that opened in December of 2022.
The county bought the Downtown Portland constructing in January of 2019 with the intention of making a peer-led facility for unhoused neighborhood members experiencing substance abuse and psychological well being crises. Deandre’s journey with the challenge began when Multnomah County Well being Division director Ebony Clark was in search of somebody with lived expertise who knew the best way to navigate the political panorama, understood behavioral well being methods and will join with shoppers.
From the beginning, an opportunity to “dream large”
Deandre started working instantly, convening conferences of stakeholders that included each individuals who have been by way of the behavioral well being system – bringing their and information about its strengths and weaknesses primarily based on their experiences; – and repair suppliers who work in shelters and different applications. The group met month-to-month and was instructed to “dream large,” with no limitations on what the imaginative and prescient could possibly be. One of the crucial important issues that got here out of those group discussions was the necessity to have a peer-run group working throughout the facility and a supervisor with lived expertise.
Options from the peer stakeholder teams knowledgeable every little thing from the murals to the seating, laundry amenities, values, insurance policies and procedures. For Deandre, it was “a very fascinating time to look at authorities take note of the individuals who have been most impacted by the system and say, ‘Hey, we will take heed to you guys and take that info and we will combine it and we will construct off that’.” It was a surreal expertise that makes him emotional each time he thinks about it.