FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen County Commissioners on Friday agreed to kick in $50,000 as part of a local coalition’s attempt to bring $6.6 million in grant money to fight opioid addiction locally.

The coalition – which consists of nine organizations which help those suffering from addiction – is seeking a piece of the roughly $25 million the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction is set to receive as part of the National Opioid Settlement.

To apply for the grant money, the coalition had to find local organizations and at least one government agency to provide matching funds.

“We believe our application is very competitive due to the breadth of the collaboration adn the breadth of the geography we’re covering,” said Paula Hughes-Schuh, chief executive officer at YWCA Northeast Indiana, who spoke for the coalition in front of commissioners.

If the coalition is successful in getting the grant, officials with the coalition estimate they can help nearly 16,000 people who might be suffering from opioid addiction throughout Northeast Indiana.

The grant money would be divvied out over the course of two years – with $5.6 million coming the first year and $1.18 million coming in year two, according to projections provided by the coalition.

Hughes-Shuh showed commissioners how opioid overdose deaths rose from 17 in 2016 to 117 in 2021 – a roughly 688 percent increase – and how Narcan use throughout the county during the first two months of this year probably shows that trend is not slowing down.

She also talked about how the coalition offers a full-range of services, from street outreach to helping people in their homes to medication assisted and peer recovery treatment. Programs aim to get people suffering from addiction to get back on their feet and live independently, she said.

“We want to have less people under bridges and more people employed,” Hughes-Shuh said.

The coalition consists of the following organizations:

  • YWCA Northeast Indiana
  • Parkview Behavioral Health
  • The Lutheran Foundation
  • LSSI Works
  • projectME
  • Recovery Cafe Fort Wayne
  • School Care Team
  • CONNECT Allen County
  • Bowen Center
  • Purdue University Fort Wayne

The Commissioners voted unanimously to offer up the $50,000.

Decisions on which counties will get grant money and how much could be made by the state in May.