Consumer Run Drop-In Center Guidelines
For Funding From the Alabama Department of Mental Health

A consumer-run drop in center is an autonomous freestanding facility where consumers voluntarily visit for socialization, fellowship, and peer support. A consumer-run drop-in center is planned, developed, and governed by an independent incorporated board of directors and consumers according to their expressed desires and needs. A drop-in center is a non-clinical program independent of professionally run treatment programs. Drop-in centers are not meant to replace traditional treatment programs but rather supplement those programs by providing peer support and opportunities for fellowship and socialization.

No traditional mental health treatment or clinical services are to be provided at a consumer- run drop-in center.

Target Population: Persons who are in recovery from mental illness who voluntarily choose to attend and participate in the drop-in center activities.

Incorporation: A consumer-run drop-in center shall be legally incorporated in the State of Alabama. Incorporation documents including the Articles of Incorporation and the latest edition of the organization’s by-laws must be on file with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Division of Mental Illness Services, Office of Consumer Relations. The drop-in center should have and maintain 501-C (3) tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.

Organizational Structure:

Board of Directors: In compliance with the incorporation requirements in the State of Alabama, a consumer-run drop-in center must have an independent board of directors that functions separately from all other mental health boards. A majority of the board of directors should be local consumers.

Executive Director: If a consumer-run drop-in center employs an executive director or similar position, the executive director will serve at the pleasure of the board of directors and will be directly responsible to the board and/or its executive committee.

The board of directors will have representation in the formulation of the executive director’s job announcement, participate in all of the interview processes, create the executive director’s job description, and approve the hiring of the executive director. (Note: Executive Director should be a consumer though not a requirement for funding)

Employees: All employees and volunteers are to be supervised by the executive director.

Insurance: Adequate insurance coverage must be maintained at all times by drop-in centers for the protection of its consumers, board of directors, staff, assets and funding sources.

Activities Plan: Consumer-run drop-in centers’ day to day activities are determined by the center’s active participants, with input from the executive director. The drop-in center should have regularly scheduled activity planning meetings. No conventional mental health treatment services are to be provided at a consumer-run drop-in center.

Community Mental Health Center and/or 310 Board

Involvement and Influence: If the board of directors of a consumer-run drop-in center decides to accept support from local sources, governments or mental health agencies, the center must adhere to the guidelines stipulated by the funding source. This support shall not imply that the drop-in center surrenders autonomy over its operations.

Confidentiality and HIPAA: Each consumer-run drop-in center must comply with all state and federal laws and regulations governing confidentiality.

Drop-in centers should not maintain any records that fall under HIPAA, or information related to an individual’s mental health treatment, medical treatment or medical records.

Compliance With Codes: It is the responsibility of each consumer-run drop-in center to research and assure that the drop-in center is in compliance with all local, state, and federal codes, laws, and regulations.

Financial Requirements:

Accountability: Each center must maintain responsible bookkeeping and accounting methods that are in compliance with all local, state, and federal codes, laws, and regulations.

Taxes: It is the responsibility of each consumer-run drop-in center to research and assure that the drop-in center is in compliance and up-to-date with all local, state, and federal taxes.

Grant Funds: Funds provided to Consumer Operated Drop-in Centers by the Alabama Department of Mental Health can only be granted or contracted directly to a consumer-run drop-in center.

Reporting Requirements:

In addition to monthly attendance reports required with the submission of monthly invoices, please repost the following changes:  address or location,  days or hours of operation, leadership or employees, Board of Directors.

1920 Club – A Drop-in Center
The Jack and Nena Biddle Building
1920 10th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205

The Sharing Place, Incorporated

Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday
10 am – 3 pm

Snacks, drinks, lunch and public bus fare are provided at no cost to members

Help the members of the 1920 Club with their recovery.