The CRRI project was launched at a critical juncture in Union City, which was facing budget cuts to service programs at a time when community needs were increasing due to the Great Recession. Initial project management efforts focused on creative ways to leverage existing resources, such as identifying staff and program space across organizations that served the same target populations. Identifying the right staff to hire for the project was also critical since the project included a diverse array of tasks. The first staff hired had to be proficient in Spanish, since they were to conduct screening and outreach in the community. In addition, the steering committee worked to hire a combination of enthusiastic young staff for some of the community outreach activities and also hire more experienced staff that would provide clinical services. This mix created a strong composition of staff.
Most new staff became employees of the NHCAC with the exception of the school-based substance use counselors who were Hoboken Medical Center employees. As new staff were hired, most of the new CRRI services were embedded in existing community service settings like the One-Stop center, the FQHC at NHCAC, and the Union City School District (UCSD). Placing project staff in these locations created an opportunity for enhancing agency staff awareness about the signs of depression and substance use and increased the number of staff who could refer clients for help. Part of the implementation process was providing time and support for the new staff to get integrated into their settings. Another initial implementation issue was the attention to professional development and to determine adequate ongoing supervision for clinical staff. Hoboken University Medical Center was able to supervise staff in the school system.