History of Zepf Center

The Zepf Center has been a Behavioral Healthcare resource in Toledo for over 40 years. With a rich history of helping those in need, we are dedicated to treating our patients with respect and providing hope.
About Us



Creating hope & recovery through integrated person-centered services.


To be the Leader in Hope and Recovery


  • Teamwork
  • Integrity
  • People-First


Zepf Center first opened as the Elizabeth A. Zepf Community Mental Health Center in 1974, named after a Toledo resident who was very active in mental health service development. Originally, the agency was primarily concerned with post-psychiatric hospitalization treatment of residents of the South catchment area of Lucas County.

The agency started expanding in 1977 by opening a satellite office and applying for a federal operations grant to become a more comprehensive community mental health center. After Julius A. Gamble resigned in 1978, H. Lynn Chenault was named as the second Executive Director.   

In 1979 the center continued to expand with agency staff as well as building space. The first day treatment program begun and the agency's services included aftercare, older adult, outpatient, children’s emergency, medical, psychological, substance abuse, rape counseling, consultation, and education services.

Throughout the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, expansion and relocation continued. Older adult day treatment programs and a residential treatment center opened. In 1983, Virginia Ferree was named the agency's third Executive Director.

As federal funds began to decline, the agency decided to commit itself to people with severe and persistent mental illnesses in 1984. MERIT Industries was formed to address the vocational needs of that population.

The Zepf Center was awarded HUD 202 funds for two group homes and an apartment building in 1985. Throughout the end of the 1980s, case management services evolved and grew.

In 1988, employees elected District 1199 SEIU, the Health Care & Social Services Union, AFL/CIO as their exclusive bargaining agent. In the same year, Maumee House, Ottawa House, and the Oaks were completed and accepted their first residents.

The agency underwent a major reorganization in 1989, closing their programs for young children, families, and older adults, alike.

The beginning of the 1990s was focused on continued adjustment and relocation as the restructuring was completed. MERIT Industries re-grouped to provide vocational services at the work sites of community employers and it was then renamed NetWORK.

In 1995, service and administrative staff moved to 6605 W. Central Ave., and then in 1996, a 24-hour, 7-day a week service availability was initiated. The fourth HUD-financed housing project, Stewart Apartments, opened the same year, as well.

The agency was first accredited by JCAHO in 1998.

Kendall Alexander was hired on as the Chief Executive Officer in 2003. The agency received a grant from the county to manage the local One Stop in Lucas County named The Source, which is currently known as OhioMeansJobs: Lucas County.

In 2004, Zepf Center celebrated its 30th year in operation.

Jennifer Moses was named Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Clustering was soon reintroduced as evidence-based clinical practice for the Zepf Center.

Children and Adolescent services began in 2009, along with the Wellness Management and Recovery program.

In October of 2012, the Zepf Center adopted the Ohio Department of Mental Health's (ODMH) Health Home model, with the goal of providing a coordinated, person-centered system of care for our clients. When a client is a member of a health home, they can obtain mental health treatment, comprehensive medical care, health and wellness education and social services that are coordinated by a team of health care professionals. Zepf Center purchased three buildings, including the former St. Mark's Episcopal Church, to be the Zepf Wellness Center. The Center is hosting health and wellness education, as well as home to a fitness facility for our clients.

In March of 2018 the Board of Trustees named Deb Flores as Zepf Center's new Chief Executive Officer.




Integrated care is the coordination of general and behavioral health care needs in an effort to treat not just the body but the mind.


The Lovell Foundation of Toledo Community Foundation Awards Grant to Zepf Center

The Board of Trustees of the Toledo Community Foundation has approved a grant from the David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation to Zepf Center in the amount of $31,300. These funds will be used to support the Mosaic Art Project, which utilizes art as a vehicle to connect with people living with mental illness and reduce the stigma of mental illness in our community. 


Behavioral Health Crisis Survey for MHRSB of Lucas County

The Mental Health & Recovery Services Board (MHRSB) of Lucas County is seeking input from stakeholders to understand the function and quality of behavioral health crisis services in Lucas County, including crisis call lines, mobile crisis teams, psychiatric urgent care centers, peer respite centers, crisis stabilization units, and psychiatric hospitals.



Zepf Centerís Staff Overwhelmingly Ratify Contract

Zepf Center is pleased to announce the staff represented by Service Employees International Union 1199 (SEIU), overwhelmingly ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement on June 19, 2019. The agreement merges two bargaining units and unifies the mental health and substance use disorder sides of Zepf Center under one contract.