WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A $100,000 grant from Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center to Bacon Street, a center for addiction and mental health services, will be used to benefit lower-income clients in greater Williamsburg and on the Peninsula.

“This is a big grant for us,” said Bacon Street Executive Director Kim Dellinger Wednesday afternoon.

Bacon Street’s annual overall budget is about $1 million, so an influx of $100,000 will go a long way. Bacon Street concentrates on clients ages 14 thru 26, but will provide services to people of any age.

Dellinger said the one-year grant will fund one-and-a-half positions for mental health and addiction services for those who need them badly but are often reluctant.

“Those who are living in homelessness or precariously housed, or are really struggling with chronic disease, those kinds of folks often struggle with getting mental health services,” she said. “We want to build relationships with them, build rapport, so that they don’t feel as stigmatized by the challenges around substance abuse and mental health services.”

Sentara recently did a community needs assessment, “and mental health came out on top,” said Sentara’s Amber Price. “Mental health is an incredibly important component of community health. It has a downstream effect on what happens to our patients inside the four walls of the hospital.”

Price said those needs, especially for substance abuse, increased during the pandemic and haven’t really gone back down.

“We’re seeing it downstream also in maternal and neonatal mortality,” Price said. “A big component of maternal mortality in the state of Virginia is related to drug overdoses.”

Those who are at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines can qualify for the services at Bacon Street. Currently for an individual that would be an income of $44,550 or less. For a family of four, it would be $90,000 or less.

“They have been strong supporters and advocates for mental and behavioral health services throughout our region,” Dellinger said regarding Sentara.

“There’s nothing that makes us happier,” Price said, “than knowing that we have a partner who’s doing this work.”