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Apartments for Mental Illness Patients Changing Lives - KOAM TV 7

Apartments for Mental Illness Patients Changing Lives

Updated:
Joplin, MO -

An apartment building in Joplin is credited with changing lives. Magnolia Heights marked its tenth anniversary today.  The housing is helping people with chronic mental illness.

Paul Welton shared how he went from homelessness to living at Magnolia Heights. He told guests at a celebration how his case worker suggested he apply and interview for the housing,
I was just elated at the thought of not living in a car anymore and being hot or cold or going hungry."

Welton said at Magnolia Heights no one forgets his birthday.
 "And that's a really wonderful feeling,
he said, when you don't have the outside support coming from anyone else."

Lisa Humphrey, another tenant, gave tours of her apartment.
There are twenty-three units and twenty-three residents at Magnolia Heights. It
s regularly full as residents pay thirty percent of their income to live there whether its social security, disability or work monies.

Lisa said "
It just didn’t seem like anything was working out for me in my life until I got into this program. I felt lost."

Here they  are safe and supported while they work on their mental illness. Lisa goes to PSR psycho social rehab but she said clients are renaming it.
 "It
s inspire center  because it inspires us to do better for our lives  and now  we're able to get jobs," Lisa explained.

She said about her apartment at  Magnolia Heights, I  get to come home to my apartment. I get to call it mine. Everything that they give us here, Im able to.  I put a rose bush out back, a knockout rose.  They let me put it in and I got to put it in and now its about this tall. She gestured four feet. She added, I consider it mine secretly but everybody loves it.

Some move out but they aren't forced to ever leave.
 Lisa Francis, the adult community services director said, "Some of them feel they want to stay cause they don't have any friends or family. This becomes a community all unto itself."   .

While residents said they feel like they're part of a family, it
s important that the specialized help is nearby.

Humphrey said, "I get help with crisis. I have crisis (contacts) on my refrigerator.

Francis added, But she tells us. She comes to staff and tells us Im not doing well and she asks for help."

Freeman CEO Paula Baker attended the celebration and said the Ozark Center pursued building Magnolia Heights after another facility, Cedar Hill filled up quickly and had a waiting list. She said,
Individuals who have a chronic mental illness in the past have often found themselves living in unsafe or unnecessarily restrictive situations.

She said how proud she was of staff and tenants, Your success and your dedication to becoming more independent and living the life of potential  that you have is inspiring to  all of us every day."
 

Her words were not lost on tenant Cassandra Phillips, "This place is independence for me. Its my security. I have to thank God every day for it."    
 

Magnolia Heights was built with department of housing and urban development grant dollars. Its one of three complexes for adults with mental illness.
 

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