We are excited to announce that SOME’s programs for people experiencing psychiatric crisis and homelessness, known as Jordan and Mary Claire Houses, will be moving to a new, renovated location on North Capitol Street, Washington D.C., NW! Please enjoy a few sneak peek photos throughout this blog.
Jordan House is a community alternative to psychiatric hospitalization and one of only two programs in the city that offers an alternative to a locked hospital ward. Jordan House is best suited for patients that need additional support but where hospitalization would be more intrusive than they need.
When people come to Jordan House they are welcomed into a home environment by two highly skilled Behavioral Health Technicians who are there 24 hours a day. They are given toiletries, a meal, a comfortable room, and a listening ear. In the first 24 hours, clients can meet with a psychiatrist to discuss their medication needs, complete a nursing assessment to assess for any health needs, and can meet with their outside case manager, or have assistance being connected to one to start planning their care.
“Individuals living with chronic mental health issues sometimes need additional support,” said Vice President of Mental Health at SOME, Susan Nightingale.
“Hospitalization is a highly restrictive intervention and isn’t always necessary. But sometimes, it’s the only option for those that aren’t stable enough to be in the community and need short-term wraparound support. That’s where Jordan House comes in.”
Everyone’s care at Jordan House is individualized, and staff collaborate closely with each client’s existing treatment team to work towards a smooth transition back into the community with additional tools and stability. Supportive counseling often takes place in the course of natural activities such as meal preparation, card games, walks, and other nurturing activities.
Staff also regularly collaborate with other programs within SOME. Many clients come with unmet medical or dental needs that can also be easily addressed by referring them to SOME services during their stay. As mental health issues are resolved it may become apparent that a client would benefit from substance use treatment.
Jordan House is short-term support where clients stay for between three to 14 days. Sometimes, clients come to Jordan House with housing instability on top of their mental health symptoms. Fourteen days is not enough time to resolve both issues. Mary Claire House is a six-month extended program for those who, upon discharge from Jordan House, would be vulnerable to cycling through crisis again because of severe or persistent mental illness exacerbated by chronic homelessness.
Mary Claire House is one of a few mental health transitional housing programs in the city, established by SOME in 2005 when we realized how challenging it was for Jordan House graduates to find stable housing. Clients can stay at Mary Claire House while they address the barriers to long-term housing.
These barriers often include applying for benefits, obtaining vital documents (birth certificate, ID), and the application process for different housing options in the city—not to mention the severe lack of affordable housing within the District. They can remain safely housed and work with a service coordinator to plan their next steps. They are also able to build skills such as healthy cooking with Chef Juliette, computer skills with our Bridging the Digital Divide Curriculum, and household management through our Occupational Therapy sessions, as well as 12-step support groups.
This move is exciting because the new spot is newly renovated. The new area is bright and sunny and brand new. It’s set up using trauma-informed care principles that enhance the sense of safety and community which contribute to healing. The number of beds will remain the same.
On the other side is old rowhouses that are being developed as a part of the North Capital project.