With grant funding for the Veterans Treatment Court set to expire within the year, the court has its eye on a similar but longer-lasting grant that could potentially provide a little bit more money annually.
Judge Mitchell Kalauli, city magistrate, is in charge of running the Veterans Treatment Court and has requested permission from the Lake Havasu City Council to apply for the grant. The council will vote to authorize the grant submission as part of its consent agenda at its meeting today. Kalauli said it is needed because the court is currently in the final year of a three-year grant that provides about $300,000 for various costs incurred by the court. The new grant would be paid out over a five-year period and Kalauli said it would pay about $400,000 annually, depending on how much is awarded.
The grant money would be used on many of the same things the current grant supports. Kalauli said most of the funds are spent on testing and treatment associated with the program. In the past, Kalauli has credited the grant with allowing the Veterans Treatment Court to step up its testing program to bring it in line with best practices in the industry.
“Best practice is to test twice per week during the term of the program and that adds up pretty quickly,” Kalauli said. “If you have 60 veterans in your program and they are each testing twice a week for seven months to a year that can become expensive fairly quickly. The power of testing is that while we trust, we also verify. It has been very successful the way that we have been able to run that.”
While many veterans are able to receive necessary treatments through the VA at no cost to them, Kalauli said some of the veterans who come through the court are not eligible for VA benefits for a variety of reasons. The grant funding would help to offset the cost of treatment for those individuals.
Kalauli said the grant money also partially pays part of the salary for an employee, and can be used for some of the other costs associated with running the Veterans Treatment Court.
Although the Veterans Treatment Court is currently the only treatment court offered in Lake Havasu City, officials have expressed interest in adding other such courts – especially a drug treatment court or a mental health treatment court. A potential expansion of treatment court options would likely coincide with a potential new courthouse being built, although plans for a new courthouse are still in their early stages.
“We are hoping to work with the city to get either a drug court or a mental health court going, and we definitely would be looking for grant funding with those also once we get to that point,” Kalauli said.
The City Council meeting will be held in the Council Chambers, located at 2360 North McCulloch Boulevard, starting at 6 p.m. Live video of the meeting will be available on Sudden Link’s channel 4. Online streams of the meeting can also be found at www.lhcaz.gov/channel-4 and on the city’s YouTube channel.