In the 14 months since a Community Mental Health Center apartment building was officially dedicated Sept. 18, 2012, at 16 N. Depot St., Batesville, it has proved vital in turning young lives around.
Each floor of the two-story structure contains six apartments and a laundry room. Two apartments on the ground floor are handicap accessible.
Of the 12 one-bedroom apartments, five are occupied by Transition to Independence Process clients, who must be between 18-25 and receive rental assistance through the Shelter-Plus Care program. Of those five, two are from Batesville and one from elsewhere in Ripley County. The other two used to live in CMHC’s service area, which also includes Franklin, Dearborn, Decatur, Ohio and Switzerland counties, reports TIP program manager Laura Harmon Nov. 19.
Four of the apartments are occupied by adult clients and three are open.
Since opening, 19 have stayed at the apartments for varying times. Seven have moved into other housing and there have been six evictions.
“This has to be a safe environment for recovery,” the manager stressed. The three building rules: no violence; no drugs or alcohol; and a new one – no sex. She explains, “Many have sexual trauma in their history.”
The ones ordered to leave “were breaking some rules. Some were having overnight guests, which is not allowed.”
The TIP program, part of the Division of Intensive Family Services, serves youth and young adults 16-25, although they must be 18 to live in the apartments. The youngest clients tend to be fostered and must learn skills before they are 18 and no longer eligible for foster care.
She points out, “All of the clients we work with have to have a mental health diagnosis.” Illnesses range from depression and bipolar disorder to anxiety issues and post-traumatic stress disorder from experiencing chronic long-term trauma, which could be from physical, sexual or emotional abuse or witnessing domestic violence.