FrontLine Service, formerly MHS, was created in 1988 to respond to the growing number of severely mentally disabled individuals who were discovered living under bridges, in abandoned buildings and other places not meant for human habitation. Many of these individuals had spent years in psychiatric institutions, discharged in the early 1980’s as community based services replaced institutions. The severity of their illness made it impossible for many to navigate this new service system. They simply fell through the cracks. Homeless, their severe mental illness untreated, trusting no one. Utilizing a non-traditional outreach approach, FrontLine Service teams canvassed the community to locate these individuals and began to develop the trust necessary for them to accept help. It is this service philosophy, reaching out to those we serve and doing so in a way that re-establishes dignity, hope and trust, that permeates every program we operate today.
FrontLine Service now operates the largest and most comprehensive continuum of care for homeless persons in Ohio. In 2011 we served over 6000 homeless adults and children. Our programs include street outreach, emergency shelter, behavioral health care, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. We provide the county’s Central Intake services at our community’s emergency shelters. And we are a critical service partner in numerous Housing First sites in Cuyahoga County.
In 1995, FrontLine Service made the decision to expand programming to include serving individuals who were in psychiatric crisis but not homeless. We sought and secured funding to operate the countywide suicide hotline and the Mobile Crisis Team. In addition, we have been in the forefront of creating innovative trauma-specific programs to respond to individuals and families who have been impacted by violence. Most recently our crisis and trauma services expanded to include operating the Crisis Stabilization Unit and Central Intake for Cuyahoga County’s Defending Childhood Initiative. In 2011, our crisis and trauma programs served over 14,000 adults and children.
We are aggressive in our pursuit of evidence based practices in behavioral health, homelessness and trauma, seeking the most effective and efficient means of alleviating the challenges confronted by those we serve. We are committed to the practice of trauma-informed care, understanding that because of the severity of the challenges in their lives, most of our clients have been impacted by trauma. Our organizational competencies and expertise include the ability to respond quickly to crises of almost any nature, the development of strong community partnerships and the collection of outcome information which supports the critical services that we provide in our community.