Centerstone, a national leader in behavioral health care, received a $5,000 grant from the Alton Foundation for personal items for residents of Centerstone’s Alton group homes that support men and women at risk of homelessness who have experienced mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders.
“Ultimately, this gift strengthens the residents’ capacities to build healthier and more stable futures by providing for materials that any person relaunching themselves into society would want,” said Erin Camfield, Centerstone Director of Advancement.
Centerstone’s residential clients work hard to learn to manage their behavioral health conditions and build skills and resources necessary for self-sufficiency. These funds will provide residents with hygiene products, clothing and shoes.
“Like the new attitudes and coping techniques our clients have learned to use to heal after mental illness or lived experience with a substance use disorder, in addition to homelessness, new clothing, shoes and hygiene products are a part of our clients’ treatment. They are a tangible sign of the new lives our clients are able to live,” said Camfield.
Statistics show that individuals with mental illness tend to die earlier than the rest of the population. This disparity is due to the significant additional medical and social challenges facing individuals with mental illness, including substance use, homelessness, and a range of co-occurring physical health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Adults who are homeless often have complex needs and barriers that prevent them from living their lives productively and independently. As a result, people experiencing homelessness often spend years in a cycle of homeless shelters, jails, hospitals, and treatment programs.
“In order to break that cycle, we have to do more than just provide safe housing; we need to provide intensive supportive services to help residents heal, recover, learn and grow,” Camfield said.
Funds from the Alton Foundation will help Centerstone ensure that the residents of Centerstone’s Alton group homes are properly equipped and prepared for their work and vocational and therapeutic goals.
“Having meaningful work and vocational goals is a critical part of our clients’ growth and recovery. Thus, new shoes, toiletries, and work clothes aren’t just basic household expenses, they are tools and resources to help our clients regain their footing and confidence to rebuild healthier lives,” Camfield said. “This grant will help Centerstone to support our clients as they break the intertwined cycles of mental illness, poverty, substance use, and poor health that together has limited their capacity for growth and productivity in the past.”