On December 14, 2006 there was a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony for the Phoenix Project, a 10-unit permanent supportive housing facility for the chronic homeless mentally ill. The new independent living facility will provide permanent housing for people with mental illness who are homeless. The new Housing Manager, Sandy Pannell, gave tours and took referrals.
Left to right: Stephenie Robb, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Initiatives, Inc. (BHI); Mary Knox Lanier, City of Memphis; Yvonne Leander, Memphis HUD Field Office Director.
The project was approved by HUD for Mid-South Health Net in January of 2002 for $300,000 in Supportive Housing Program funds, $75,000 operating costs and approved for $300,000 in HOME funds from the City of Memphis. Almost two years later, Mid-South Health Net still had not obtained site control and concluded that it was not technically prepared to complete the project. However, knowing the units were badly needed by some of their patients, Mid-South Health Net approached Chere' Bradshaw, Regional Housing Facilitator for Behavioral Health Initiatives, Inc. (BHI), Mary Knox Lanier with the City of Memphis, HUD's Community Planning and Development, and land owner Marvis Rodgers, to propose that BHI take over the project. BHI took over the project in November of 2003.
Front row left to right: Chere Bradshaw, BHI Regional Housing Facilitator; Sandy Pannell, Housing Manager at The Phoenix Project; Stephenie Robb, Executive Director of BHI Top row left to right: Yvonne Leander, Memphis HUD Field Office Director, Mary Knox Lanier, City of Memphis; Barry Hale, Member, BHI Board of Directors; Dr. Jim Causey, President, BHI Board of Directors.
This is much needed housing in the Memphis community. The housing is designed and intended for persons with chronic mental illness to provide them with the least restrictive environment possible while still providing quality mental health services to fit their needs in the community.
The goal of support services is to help persons with severe persistent mental illness achieve a stable, quality life and encourage involvement in meaningful activity within their community. Persons with disabilities living in the community in addition to mental health care require assistance with food, clothing, medical care, and a wide variety of interventions that address the psychosocial issues of community living. There will be a resident manager with experience in the mental health field that will ensure that each of the residents are linked to mainstream resources in the community.
Without the dedication and commitment of all involved, the project would have been lost, and there would not have been a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1181 Vance Avenue three years later. A special heart-felt thanks go out to all.