This article was originally published by KAKE News on March 21, 2016

Comcare getting helping hand from local developer

by Staff

The organization that helps the mentally ill or those with drug problems in our community, COMCARE, is getting a new lease on life.

A local business leader is stepping forward to help COMCARE form a sister organization that will have a charity designation.

COMCARE's Community Crisis Center provides mental health and substance use disorder crisis services 24 hours a day.

The organization's annual report released today shows it saves community partners between $4 and $5 million a year. But that comes at a cost. And Jason Van Sickle knows funding is limited.

"It's gotta look at the shrinking number of state and federal funding and so making sure that it had the resources in the future," Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle is a developer and President of the Old Town Association. He is volunteering to help COMCARE get a 501(c)(3) charity designation. That should bring in donors and community support says COMCARE's Director Marilyn Cook.

"He will bring the business community to the table," Cook said. "And form a board that hopefully will help us promote COMCARE services and do some fundraising for us."

Sedgwick County has talked about partly or fully privatizing COMCARE in the past. County funding of COMCARE has gone from $2.7 million in 2014 to $3 million in 2015 to $2.99 million this year. Van Sickle hopes to answer an important question.

"How can COMCARE continue to provide all of the quality services and even increase those services while using less taxpayer dollars," Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle says if all goes well they may have a board of directors set to go in the next 30 to 60 days.