02/14 Building a community: houses for NC people with mental illness

The 336 square foot house is the pilot house, the first of several where clients with mental illness will be able to live inexpensively.

The 336 square foot house is the pilot house, the first of several where clients with mental illness will be able to live inexpensively.

At the end of a dirt road sits a small, unfinished house that is the centerpiece of Thava Mahadevan’s plan for stable housing and productive work for people with mental illnesses.

Mahadevan founded the Farm at Penny Lane, 40 acres that he hopes to convert into a community of 10 small houses for people living with mental illnesses and on limited incomes.

The homes would be open to clients at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, where Mahadevan is director of operations, and would be affordable to people living on Supplemental Security Income, federal benefits for people with disabilities.

Housing is a critical need for people with mental illnesses. Members of a task force on mental health and substance abuse convened by Gov. Pat McCrory has made housing one of their top priorities. They say tiny homes, like those planned by Mahadevan, might be part of the answer…

Mahadevan hopes the Tiny Home Collaborative can be an example to rural counties in the state and the rest of the country. Eventually, he would like to compile a step-by-step guide on building such communities that others can use.

Read more – http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article60371941.html

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Elaine Walker