Innovative Services Program for Persons With Severe Mental Illness

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 General News J E 4
HERO House Achieves Independence and Gains Non-Profit Status

SEATTLE, Oct. 13 -- HERO House, a consumer-driven advocacy and vocational center for persons suffering from severe mental illness, announced today, that it has become a free-standing not-for-profit agency and has been granted 501 (c) (3) status by the Federal Government designated as a public charity eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts and donations.  HERO House was founded in 2005 by NAMI Eastside (NES), the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and has grown as a program of NES for four years.

HERO House, located in Bellevue, currently serves over 225 individuals with severe mental illness living throughout Eastside King County who are referred from hospitals, psychiatric professionals, churches, community-based organizations, or are self-referred 'walk-ins".   HERO House provides vocational training and job placement, helps members secure housing and medical care, and perhaps most importantly, offers a social network to its members aimed at eliminating the isolation experienced by those living with mental illness.  Said HERO House member, 'Lindy' who is living with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, "HERO House is not a place where they give you a meal and send you on your way.  You make friends. They teach you how to use a computer or work in a (commercial) kitchen..." just a few of the educational programs which lead to wage-earning job placements secured by HERO House for their members.

Said Mike Rynas, President of NAMI Eastside, "The birth and growth of HERO House has been among our finest contributions in helping those with chronic mental illness on the eastside of Greater Seattle.   A demonstration of the success of HERO House is their accreditation as an International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD), one of 400 around the world, and upon its first application."  Added Bob Simpson, President of HERO House Board of Directors, "HERO House is grateful for the support of NAMI Eastside and we are excited that HERO House has now reached full maturation leading to independence."  

Along with undergoing financial restructuring, HERO House now has mounted a campaign to aggressively pursue funding and donations.  Erica Horn, Executive Director of HERO House, points to the mission statement which is simply stated:   HERO House is a place where individuals living with mental illness go to reclaim their lives and rejoin their communities.  Now Erica, her staff, HERO House members, and supporters must energetically and creatively turn their efforts toward raising funds to ensure the doors of HERO House remain open to continue serving this greatly underserved population.




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