Nearly half of the homeless men and women BRC serves have a chronic mental health challenge to manage as well. To help meet their needs, we provide comprehensive mental health support and treatment throughout our programs, with a special focus on serving clients who are severely and persistently mentally ill (SPMI), many of whom have co-occurring substance abuse problems.
Many individuals who face homelessness also struggle with mental illness as a barrier to housing stability. Some are facing psychiatric conditions and chemical addictions that require long-term treatment. Others are coping with acute mental illness triggered by past traumas, such as disrupted relationships, domestic abuse, and of course, the trauma of homelessness itself.
More importantly, many of those who are mentally ill often carry with them a history of failure in overcoming these challenges. They may lack the confidence or the skills to effectively advocate for their needs as they work towards a better life. Those with the lived experience of incarceration, domestic abuse and chronic homelessness have learned behaviors that may have enabled them to survive in such volatile environments for long periods of time, but these are counterproductive when seeking help.
To assist these clients, BRC offers caring and effective support in several programs designed to help clients manage their mental illness, find permanent housing, and achieve stability and independence in their lives. For those who once lived independently but lapsed in their own self-care, BRC provides a community of support where they can manage their illness or addictions and re-gain the skills they once had. In other cases, BRC supports individuals who may be learning practical life skills for the first time. BRC provides these clients with new opportunities to acquire and practice these skills in a safe and nurturing environment focused on helping them achieve independence.
While BRC offers mental health services at all of our programs, several programs are especially focused on providing this type of support. These programs include:
- Transitional housing and shelter programs – BRC operates 4 licensed transitional housing programs (Casa de Los Vecinos, Cecil Ivory House Fulton House, and the Metropolitan Apartment Program) and 3 shelter/Safe Haven programs (Boulevard Residence, Jack Ryan Residence and Reception Center Safe Haven) aimed at helping mentally ill homeless people gain the skills and resources for transitioning to housing stability.
- Permanent housing programs – We offer several supportive housing programs aimed at helping those with mental illness maintain the highest level of independence possible. These programs include Clyde Burton House, Los Vecinos and the HomePlus scattered-site housing program.
- Substance abuse programs – Both our inpatient Chemical Dependency Crisis Center and outpatient Fred Cooper Substance Abuse Services programs offer on-site mental health counseling for those with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.
- Case management programs – For those recently released from incarceration, BRC helps connect clients with mental health services in the community. Our Care Coordination case management program, which operates as part of Health Home system, helps clients with a serious and persistent mental illness – many of whom also have a history of homelessness and/or substance abuse – achieve stable lives and homes.