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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

Safe Haven: Living United

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Family Counseling Center in Kennett has been serving the needs of people in the community for over 36 years and is another agency which is helped through contributions to the United Way.

One of the facilities of the counseling center is that of Safehaven, a program which was developed in 2007, along with the counseling center's community partners to help address the homeless situation found in Dunklin County.

When asked about the history of the facility as well as the decision to institute such a program in the local area, CEO Myra Callahan said, "The decision to offer homeless services in Dunklin County was a result of our previous experience in conducting homelessness outreach activities that began in 2002. Over the course of a year or so it became clear that additional housing resources for persons with disabilities was essential in the area. Family Counseling Center, in collaboration with the Dunklin County Commission, obtained grant funding to specifically provide a facility for persons with disabilities, and who were homeless, to receive housing assistance as well as access to necessary health care and mental health services."

Services that the facility provides are homeless outreach and housing coordination for persons who live in Dunklin County that have a qualifying physical and/or mental health disability and who are homeless, resident health and mental health needs which are coordinated by an on-site social worker to help identify and address chronic or potentially chronic care issues. Also, in 2012, a wing was added to the facility to help transition people with serious mental health issues successfully, from a hospital setting back into the community. To do this, Family Counseling offers community stabilization services which includes access to a social worker, mental health professionals, nursing staff as well as psychiatry.

When asked about what qualifies someone for Safehaven, Jim Medlock, manager of Co-occurring Services, said, "It's basically for people with a history of homelessness and they have to have a documented period of homelessness to get into that program."

Medlock works with the Dual Program which deals with alcohol and drug problems as well as a psychiatric illness. He added that sometimes when people are treated for these illnesses it is sometimes discovered that they are facing issues concerning housing as well.

"They all have a common issue of not being totally disengaged from their families but they've burned a few bridges and so they do not exactly have a home," he said, adding, "The initiative in the State of Missouri has been a holistic approach to where we're not just treating one facet of a person's life. We're looking at the whole rather than the parts." He added that when this approach is taken, the success rate is higher.

Remarking later on, Medlock said, "I'm very excited because with the multiple array of services that Family Counseling Center can now offer, recovery is not an exception, it is the rule. It can become the rule." Medlock added that it is up to the individual.

"They determine the outcome. It's all client consumer friendly," Medlock said.

Other programs offered through Family Counseling in Kennett are a children's program, adolescent program and an adult program.

"Not only do we offer a variety of services from psychiatrists to licensed counselors and community support workers,we can offer that in a variety of settings. We can offer that as long as someone needs it," he added.

In closing, Medlock said, "With the wide array of services that we offer and the trained staff, people's lives can be improved. No doubt about it."

Funds received from the United Way cover a variety of services, according to Callahan, which fall outside the scope of the program design to include medication assistance, physical aids such as wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.

"The flexibility of the United Way funds allows us to more comprehensively meet the care needs of persons served in Dunklin County," she said.

Last year Family Counseling applied for $5,000 to help support its mission in serving the homeless people in Dunklin County.

If anyone is interested in making a donation to Family Counseling, the agency is a 501( c) 3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible and are used for charitable activities. Donations may be sent to Family Counseling Center, P.O. Box 71, Kennett, Mo., 63857.

Other ways Family Counseling Center is funded is through the Missouri Department of Mental Health, United States of Housing and Urban Development. It also accepts Medicare, Missouri Medicaid, and private insurance.

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