89.1 WEMU

Mental Health Workers Going Back To Work After Being Laid Off During Pandemic

Jun 11, 2020

After the pandemic made it necessary to lay off six full-time employees, the Fresh Start Clubhouse in Ann Arbor has begun to offer more mental health services.  

Clubhouse Director Summer Berman was the only employee who remained on the payroll for the last couple of months.  But with financial support from the group’s parent company and emergency grant dollars, three employees were rehired earlier this month, and the other three are expected to start soon.  

Summer Berman: Prior to the pandemic we had about 110 active members, with the loss of our staff I probably had 40 to 50 who were still really actively involved.

The clubhouse had to lay off the workers because Medicaid stopped reimbursing them for their services when they switched from in-person services to a virtual counseling format to meet social distancing requirements.  A system they continue to use today in place of face-to-face counseling.  

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu