Supportive Housing at Mercy
8/2/2011 12:00 AM
The Johnston Center, a collaboration of Mercy Housing and Hope House, has been open for almost one year. This building, formerly a clinic, offers 92 single occupancy units for the chronically homeless and disabled. The building features common spaces, a computer lab, and an exercise room. But what makes the housing “supportive” is the case management provided by Hope House staff.
Careful and compassionate case management can be the determining factor of maintaining housing for many chronically homeless individuals. Adhering to a budget on low, no, or fixed income can be a struggle. Navigating the social services available and selecting the right ones can be confusing. That’s why Hope House provides comprehensive case management for any individual staying at the Johnston Center. Residents can work with our staff to plan a budget, pay bills on time, and connect with the services they need. Our staff not only help them on the right track, but help them stay there, while they live in safe, permanent housing.
According to the Supportive Services Supervisor, Clarissa, about 40% of the Johnston Center residents arrive with zero income. With the help of case managers, 12 residents have obtained social security benefits since the building’s grand opening in September of last year.
One of the successful residents is 39 year old Elliott. After a long and arduous battle with drug addiction, as well as 22 months of incarceration, Elliott found himself unemployed and homeless. He sought shelter at the Salvation Army Emergency Lodge and was allowed some time to breathe easy again. Elliott worked hard to rebuild his life, and was referred for a permanent room at the Johnston Center. He was able to move into an apartment for the first time in 20 years on October 20, 2010. Unfortunately diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, Elliott now receives social security benefits and can meet his basic needs without assistance. Currently, he is working towards obtaining his GED. Elliott was also granted visitation rights with his three year old daughter, who visits her father twice a week at the Johnston Center.
Many men and women who have stayed in Hope House’s emergency or transitional shelter have found a permanent home at the Johnston Center as well. Individuals who have spent too many years on the streets or in and out of friends’ apartments are now maintaining a place of their own. We hope to hear more success stories like Elliott’s as we enter into our second year at the Johnston Center.
Want to help support the residents at the Johnston Center or Hope House? Consider donating household products such as dishes, coffee pots, bath towels, or hygiene supplies. You can always make a financial contribution as well. Drop off any donations at Hope House, located at 209 W. Orchard St. We appreciate your help!