Nonprofit helps provide mental health support to homeless people in central Ohio

Columbus, Ohio (W.C.M.H.) — A Columbus-area nonprofit emphasizes support for people experiencing mental illness.

Regional housing network (CHN) has been serving the community for more than 35 years by helping to provide affordable, permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.

CHN said more than 80% of residents experience mental illness. Those numbers were very close to reality for Carolyn Ford, a woman who has been homeless for more than two years.

Ford was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to quit his job.

“I became homeless because I couldn't pay the rent. I went to a shelter,” she said.

At the shelter, she tried to think of what would happen next.

“I didn't think anyone cared. I was at a loss,” Ford said.

She was on a waiting list for housing through CHN. A CHN would give her a place to go, including support for her mental and physical health.

One day, she called me.

“I was happy, I was sad, I was grateful, I cried, I jumped up and down. I just kept saying, 'Thank you,'” Ford said.

“Moving day is actually one of my favorite days of the year because the people we serve are… “Because he's been through so many really difficult situations and he's incredibly resilient.”

Schuler said the focus is on mental health support because so many homeless people need it.

“If we really want to end the cycle of homelessness for people, we need to provide both affordable housing and access to volunteer services,” Schuler said. “Generally speaking, if someone has a mental illness and there is not an adequate support system, their homelessness will be prolonged unless permanent supportive housing can be provided.”

Nearly 60 residents currently live where Ford is located. CHN plans to begin construction this summer, adding 40 more units.

https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/columbus/nonprofit-helps-central-ohios-homeless-deal-with-mental-health/ Nonprofit helps provide mental health support to homeless people in central Ohio

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