When Community Mental Health Center’s apartment building at 16 N. Depot St., Batesville, was officially dedicated Sept. 18, CEO Tom Talbot told 40 attendees they were actually celebrating two programs, the Transition to Independence Process (TIP) and its Housing Services. “These two programs lay the foundation for and facilitate mental health recovery for young adults.”
He defined that recovery as “a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, fulfilling and contributing life even with the limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the significant effects of mental illness.”
Jackie Mullin, TIP program director, reported case managers, peer support specialists and other staff are helping residents, who will eventually number 12, to plan their futures so they can be “as self-sufficient as they can.” Her aim is to "really include the youth voice" so residents mature in the best way possible. “All of their goals are very individualized.”
Residents get educated about their illnesses and medications and learn daily living skills, such as budgeting, hygiene and how to clean their apartments. They meet with entitlement specialists to discover any federal financial help for which they are eligible.
She emphasized that the building is not permanent housing. Mullin expects most young men and women to stay six months to a year while they get on their feet.
Resident Zach Miles has been a CMHC client since January. After becoming homeless about one and a half months ago, he had been staying overnight at various places until moving into his apartment. The Aurora man who most recently lived in Lawrenceburg was released from prison eight months ago after being sentenced for dealing meth. Miles said he’s excited to be living there “because it’s a place I can call home -- finally .... It gives me a fresh start in a new town.” Without the center's housing and counseling support, “I’d be back in prison or on the streets.” TIP is “the best thing for me.”
A Finding Improvement by Reaching Empowerment (FIRE) youth engagement specialist organizes evening social and educational events at the facility. Miles reported, “Tonight is TIP game night,” which ranges from playing cards and board games to hanging out together and watching movies. On Mondays residents learn how to cook.
Sober for two years, he has been taking substance abuse classes. In addition, employees found him “positive, sober friends to be around ... Everything I’ve needed, they’ve been there.”
Talbot thanked the firm ARCHitecture trio, Indianapolis, for its design and general contractor Maxwell Construction, Lawrenceburg.
Home Dollars, a federally-funded program administered by the Indiana Housing Community Development Authority to decrease homelessness, granted $1.4 million to help construct the building. That amount didn’t cover furnishings, so CMHC leaders organized a furniture drive.
Rising Sun Regional Foundation officials provided an $18,000 matching grant that was utilized to purchase some of the items. Other donors included American Legion Post 452, Sunman; Batesville Products, Lawrenceburg; D-D Vending, Greendale; Napoleon State Bank, Napoleon; William and Catherine Backman, Aurora; and Furniture Fair, Cincinnati.
Each floor of the two-story structure contains six apartments and a laundry room. Two apartments on the ground floor are handicap accessible.
This 12-apartment facility joins 98 other units owned or operated by CMHC that house individuals and families, including 14 more in Batesville, 36 in Lawrenceburg, 16 in Vevay and 32 scattered throughout the five-county service area of Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Switzerland and Dearborn, according to Paul Murphy, associate director of community support services.
Bill Narwold, former Jac-Cen-Del School Corp. superintendent and Transitional Youth Advisory Committee member, told the crowd, “I have really been impressed with the sincere dedication of the CMHC staff ... (who are helping the residents) become the productive citizens they desire to be.”