A Home of Loving Kindnessby Jacqueline Bull April 25, 2018
Chesed Home, a community project that started with the mission of providing a safe environment and compassionate care for Jewish adults with mental illness, has come a long way since the opening of the home in August 2013. Their latest triumph is very San Diegan – real estate.
They are now able to purchase their own building, which has opened up the future of Chesed Home and their umbrella project, Hope Village.The reduction in overhead will help them become an overall more sustainable program, offer them an opportunity to award scholarships and open the door for the expansion of new homes.
“The demand is huge. There is a scarcity of housing for adults with severe mental illness,” Suzanne Marcus, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist and a board member at Chesed Home said. They are the only home on the West Coast – not exclusively – but particularly for Jewish people with mental illness. Nationwide, the number of licensed residential care facilities has steadily decreased since the ‘80s.
The program was developed with a recovery model which moves people from a 24-hour licensed care model, to semi-independent living in apartments on the complex, and then graduate into their own apartments independently.
“Providing them with a stable and secure environment and compassionately delivered services enables the individual to have the safety and stability that they haven’t had. And so that they can begin to move forward whether it is to learn independent living skills, to begin to think about taking on a part-time job or going to school and beginning to develop those skills that they haven’t been able to because they haven’t been stabilized on medication,” Dr. Marcus said.
For now, Dr. Marcus explains that the board is “very committed and in it for the long haul.” They will celebrate closing on the building in May and look forward to hiring an executive program director for the wider network of homes.
In our July 2015 coverage of Chesed Home, (“Living with Mental Illness” by Natalie Jacobs), the facility had not been open long enough to have had residents complete or graduate through the recovery model. Now that they have been open longer, families that have been helped by Chesed Home are able to share their experiences.
“Our adult child was living in an out-of-state residential treatment home due to the lack of suitable housing for our child’s illness and continuous care. Following 13 months in a hospital setting, and transferring our child out of state, we endured another eight long months of flying to and from this facility. One day we decided to bring him home to live at Chesed Home. The patience and tender loving care that he received from the first day he moved in was continuous. The counselors, support services, individual program needs and consistent care never failed our child nor this family. Following three years of continuous care, even when our child resided in the independent living section, Chesed Home was always ready to check on our child to make sure that all was well. What a blessing! Today, our child is strong and healthy, happily employed, recently married, and building a stable and successful future. Words do not adequately express how grateful our family is for the loving care and recovery of our child. Chesed Home helped us through a long, difficult journey and gave our child a second chance at life,” said a parent of a resident.
“One resident in particular has worked on publishing his own books with the goal of them being sold in stores. Most importantly, they have achieved personal happiness and peace through the establishment of closer relationships with their parents, siblings, families and friends. At Chesed Home, our residents have created strong bonds with like-minded individuals. They no longer feel alone and vulnerable in society. Most of our residents have graduated from our program and are now living in their own apartments. These families are closer than ever and less overwhelmed by the challenges of mental illness,” said Dana Glaser, a social worker that was worked with Hope Village/Chesed Home for four years.
For more information about the home, visit chesedhome.org.