HOPE House proud to have served area for a year

To the editor:

HOPE House in Burnham first opened the door to individuals on July 1, 2018. The home provides housing as well as on site supports and services for individuals with mental illness who would otherwise be homelessness in our community.

Each individual develops an individualized support plan that includes the goal of obtaining and sustaining long-term safe and affordable independent living. Each individual residing in the home has their own secure room and they share responsibility for maintaining the residence.

During the first full fiscal year of the program being in existence, we have served 39 individuals. Thirty-one of these individuals have successfully transitioned into their own independent housing. The home provides people with an opportunity to build supports that last long after they leave the home. We did not have any individuals return to the program during the entire first year due to becoming homeless again.

One in five adults living in the United States experiences mental illness in any given year. One in 25 adults living in the United States experiences a serious mental illness in a given year. These statistics indicate that there is a very good chance that mental illness touches all of our lives in some way.

The diagnosis of a serious mental illness does not mean that an individual is dangerous. The individuals residing in the home are residents who work, live and contribute to our community. They are our friends, our family, our neighbors and our co-workers. Many of the residents had to overcome huge obstacles including stigma and discrimination to get their lives back on track.

Today is a celebration of the success of each of the HOPE residents who were able to move forward in their journey toward recovery. We celebrate your strength and admire your resiliency in dealing with adversity.

We look forward to continued success for all HOPE residents as we begin the home’s second year. We would also like to thank everyone who has made the home possible including Juniata Valley Behavioral & Developmental Services, Mifflin/Juniata Human Services Department and all of the local service provider agencies who work in partnership to support the residents.

Anyone interested in learning more about mental illness is encouraged to contact the SAM Inc. Huntingdon, Mifflin Juniata Base Service Unit at (717) 242-0351. We offer free information and free presentations to local residents and agencies.

Nicole Luckovich

HOPE House