BANGOR — Community-based organizations met in downtown Bangor Thursday to raise awareness about mental health, substance abuse, and more.
Whitney Parish from Health Equity Alliance said the federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and other COVID-19 related funding has yet to be allocated.
She said investing in these non-profits and other organizations is critical.
“Those ARPA dollars combined with other resources, and leverage to secure additional funding can change and even save countless lives,” Parish said.
Parish said the coronavirus pandemic has caused considerable harm to those who are most vulnerable.
“Especially people suffering from mental illness, mental health challenges, substance use disorders, and chaotic drug use as well as individuals who are unhoused and living in poverty,” said Parish.
Together Place Executive Director Sean Faircloth said the amount of federal funding is something he has never seen before.
He said Penobscot County has twice the overdose rate as Cumberland county.
“We are all here to support each other because united is the way we will address one of the biggest crises of our time,” said Faircloth.
Many others echoed that same sentiment.
“If we do not come together, and do this together, then no one is going to have it,” said Karleigh Farington.
Parish said it will ultimately be up to elected officials to decide when and how the federal funds will be allocated.