A few may go home for the holidays. “All the residents we have currently have connections with their families” and some visit back and forth. “That’s something that we really try to promote …. We think that’s really important. Our consumers don’t come here with nothing. They bring with them a history and culture.”
Some clients already have jobs in food service and customer service. Others have punched time cards at Kroger and Batesville Tool & Die.
Are apartment consumers supervised? Harmon answers, “There are not staff on the premises 24 hours a day, but there are staff available.” Some are close, at a CMHC facility across the street at 15 N. Depot St., and can monitor what’s going on in the apartments with the help of six security cameras.
Harmon emphasizes that the building is not permanent housing. She expects most young men and women to stay six months to a year while they get on their feet.
This program is needed because “it prevents homelessness,” she maintains. One criteria to be placed in an apartment is to be homeless. “One of our residents was living in a tent before he came.” Others have arrived from Aurora’s Heart House homeless shelter and the Batesville-based Safe Passage domestic violence shelter. The federal definition of homelessness excludes “couch surfing,” staying with a friend or relative for a few days, then finding another situation.
Basic human needs must be met before mental health issues can be addressed. “If we find stable housing (such as the apartments), they are able to move on to achieve other things. They aren’t trying to just make it through the day.”
With TIP since July, Harmon reflects, “One of the things I’ve enjoyed over the past few months is really getting the clients more engaged and enthusiastic.” One achievement was naming the building. “Finally they called it The Brick, which I love. The brick is the foundation, the beginning. It’s strong, it’s something to build on, something to build with. I love the fact the residents came up with that name.”