BVCAN/Together Colorado: Organizing for Mental Health Care and More
Boulder Valley Community Action Network (BVCAN) is the community organizing group within the Fellowship. Our goal is to create systemic changes that will make our community a better place to live for everyone, while building leadership and anti-oppression skills. BVCAN started in 2009, helping to create a program to enroll schoolchildren in public health insurance. Now, along with other Boulder County congregations, we work to ensure access to health, including mental health, and to increase affordable housing.
In 2012, BVCAN began to focus on ways of improving access to mental health services through enhanced navigation services, so that everyone can find the mental health care they need when they need it. Since then, we have held five large public meetings, where community leaders, professionals, and the public heard moving testimonies of individuals’ mental health journeys. At our public action in November 2016 we were able to create a partnership with the Boulder County Public Health Department.
In 2021, we learned that Boulder County would receive $64 million dollars in federal funding under the American Recovery Program Act (ARPA). As organizers, BVCAN members worked with Together Colorado, and our ally East County Housing Opportunity Coalition, to hold grassroots summits about dire needs for mental health care and for affordable housing, reporting directly to the County Commissioners on what was said. Members applied for, and served on the County’s ARPA Task Forces to press for programs envisioned by the community. Our efforts for mental health access were successful, after our many years of organizing! We secured over $12 million in funding for mental health crisis response, navigation, community education programs, and direct vouchers for therapy.
Our organizing continues! Affordable housing remains a core challenge for families in Boulder County. We need to ensure the gains for mental health access, while taking action for health care for all. Along with other Boulder County congregations, we are listening to the needs and stories of our community about health, housing and economic challenges, and will continue to organize for systemic change that improves lives and dignity for all.
BVCAN is a member of the state organizing group, Together Colorado. Together Colorado is a non-partisan, multi-racial, multi-faith, anti-racist community organization that unlocks the power of people to transform their communities through community organizing. Comprised of over 220 congregations, schools and faith leaders throughout the state, we are working together to put human dignity at the center of public life in Colorado.
Grounded in our faith and democratic traditions and in the everyday concerns of the people in our congregations, schools and communities, we train and equip faith leaders and volunteer community leaders to join together to resolve community issues on their own behalf at local, state and national levels. Current key issues include economic justice, affordable housing, health care, immigration, transforming justice, and climate justice.
Together Colorado, founded by a group of faith leaders in 1978 as Metro Organizations for People, is a member of Faith in Action, an international faith-based network of 40 organizations in 20 states and 4 countries.
BVCAN’s work is engaging, challenging and meaningful. We welcome participation from anyone in our BVUUF congregation or community. Our group email is firstname.lastname@example.org