Jewish Community Services’ Community Cottages

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Frank Dillane said “Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re on the outskirts of society’

Most cases of homelessness speak to a series of severe losses which can lead to further trauma. These individuals experience internal persistent terror, loneliness, despair, fear and dread within a capsule of psychological invisibility.

A significant proportion of the homeless have serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. This constructs greater barriers to housing and its victims fall prey to social isolation and economic desperation. Persons with poor mental health are more susceptible to the main factors that can lead to homelessness namely poverty, disaffiliation and personal vulnerability.

JCS Community Cottages were established close to two decades ago as a response to the housing needs of persons living with a psychiatric disability where it is recognised that a safe and stable place to live is a vital component in containment and stabilization of mental ill health.

12 residents live in two separate houses with a full repertoire of support on a spectrum of level of care and functional match that is flexible to the current and changing needs of residents.

This is implemented as an empowering tool to allow residents to live in the least restrictive environment so that they may more effortlessly frame their own subjective perception of their own quality of life in a manner that shadows the debilitating effects of stigma. This is a place where residents feel in control and orchestrate their own rhythm of daily living.

Residents enjoy –
Full provision or subsidisation of daily nutritious meals
Laundry
Individual rooms
Live in caregiver support
Medication administration support systems of varying levels so as to ensure compliance
Individual social work case management services
24-hour access to crisis social work intervention services
Group work
Community projects which enrich and enhance the quality of life of the residents including volunteer services and art/craft group
Spiritual enrichment through regular shiurim

This infrastructure of support while providing a stable and safe living space has proven to reduce hospitalisation and provides a readymade community of mutual support to combat loneliness and isolation.
The quality of the physical environment and the convenience of location which blurs with the neighborhood helps to normalise their daily existence.

Should you wish to get involved in any way please enquire with reference to this article at 021 462 5520.

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