On a warm afternoon in Salt Lake City during the dedication of permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals with chronic mental illness, all eyes were focused on Lynette as she told the audience, "This is the first sobriety I've had in 30 years�if it weren't for Safe Haven, I'd be dead."
"This place will be a refuge for a particularly vulnerable segment of our society. It's time to move out of the dark ages in the country when it comes to dealing with mental illness," U.S. Congressman Jim Matheson said during the dedication ceremonies.
Lynette will be one of the first residents to occupy an apartment in the 24-unit permanent supportive housing project called Safe Haven II.
Designed to mirror the architectural details of Safe Haven I, which are transitional housing, the new apartments will provide residents with a community room and shared laundry facilities. All of the studio apartments come completely furnished with dishes, linens and appliances, and all have private baths.
Residents can access staff and other support resources located next door at a Drop-in-Center. And case management services will continue to be a mainstay in their lives. Research on chronic homelessness indicates ongoing case management is necessary to ensure people remain housed and stable and do not fall back into homelessness.
Executives of Valley Mental Health, the developer Safe Haven I and II, say that the new complex - with its Drop-In Center, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing and supportive services - will offer "one stop shopping" to their clientele for as long as they need it.
HUD has a substantial commitment to the project. In addition to a $400,000 initial Continuum of Care grant, the project has received more than $2 million dollars in HOME funds and Community Development Block Grants. Other financial support has come from federal tax credits, other public funds and private donations.
VMH, a private nonprofit organization, has been providing social services to the homeless population of Utah since 1988. VMH contracts with several government agencies in Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties to provide affordable housing and mental health services to homeless and/or low-income individuals and families.