NORWICH – Countering the downsize of mental health facilities in the surrounding region, Catholic Charities of Chenango County is rolling out a new program that will provide life skills training and transitional housing to individuals with developmental disabilities.
On Wednesday, Catholic Charities of Chenango unveiled the living quarters to be used in its new Individual Residential Alternative (IRA) and Transitional Program. The shelter, named King’s Cottage after the late Catholic Charities CFO Debbie King, is a four-bed, 24-hour, seven day per week facility that will help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn life skills needed to transition to long-term placements.
Catholic Charities says the program is an answer to fewer inpatient mental health services in areas like neighboring Broome County.
“During the last point in time of survey for emergency respite services for people with disabilities, the Broome region had 46 individuals that would qualify for this (IRA) program,” said Catholic Charities Director of Operations Jeff Chesebro. “We believe it’s only increased since then.”
Each person admitted into the IRA and Transitional Program will be considered “at risk of homelessness” due to the death of a caregiver, lack of family support, domestic violence, or loss of placement in another facility.
King’s Cottage is temporary (up to two years), and individuals must get referrals to enroll.
During their stay, individuals will work with a team to discover what they’re looking for or need in permanent placement, and work to build skills to be as independent as possible. They’ll also work with staff to learn skills and continue living a life to the fullest quality possible, said Jody Kenyon, Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist for Catholic Charities.