A housing complex for the mentally ill is slated for Harlan by the end of this year.
The complex, which will consist of 11 housing units, will be under construction beginning in the summer of 2003 and will be an extension of Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center.
To be constructed by COAP Incorporated of Harlan, the housing unit should be completed during the winter. Frank Stoffle, director of COAP, will help with the project.
"We will provide the labor and construction expertise to build the building," Stoffle said. "Also, over 2,700 volunteer hours will be supplied by several persons from the eastern United States."
According to Stoffle, the volunteers will be aided by a knowledgeable contractor.
"The volunteers work under the supervision of a paid, local contractor," Stoffle said. "These volunteers will help to lift things, hammer, dig and do other necessary work."
Duane Kauffman, Catchment B director at Cumberland River Comprehensive Care, said that although some persons that will live in the facility may need little or no personal attention, staff will be on duty in the event that attention is needed.
"There will be a case manager that works closely with the facility and helps those who need attention," Kauffman said. "There will also be someone from our staff who will sleep at the facility in case someone needs help."
Kauffman noted that the complex will could be a temporary living space for some and a permanent home for others.
"People can live there as long as they need to," he said. "On the other hand, some will eventually go on to live in the community."
The units will consist of individual apartments with fully-functional living areas and kitchen space, so that those living there can be engaged in a natural living environment.
County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said the housing will be efficient for those who live there and will be of minimal cost to the federal and state governments.
"It is so much less costly to the federal and state governments to have these individuals in housing where they can be independent," Grieshop said.
Funding for the complex largely comes form the Kentucky Housing Corporation, with a portion of the proceeds funded by unclaimed lottery winnings. Total funds available for the project are $969,834.
The housing is necessary for Harlan because it will keep those with psychiatric needs in the area from having to travel to Hazard or Corbin.
Kauffman said the complex will probably built on a piece of property owned by Comprehensive Care.
Location of the housing is key, according to Grieshop and Kauffman.
"These folks cannot afford an automobile and transportation costs, so they have to be able to walk to the places they need to get to," Grieshop said. "They need close access to healthcare, the pharmacy, the cinema and other forms of entertainment. All of those things come into play with the location of the structure. We have spoken with the hospital and we may work out something with them concerning a small amount of property, which would result in a partnership with them on the project. But we don't have all those answers yet."
Grieshop also stated that forming partnerships is necessary to meeting the needs of these individuals.
"The hospital's psychiatric unit, with Comprehensive Care, COAP, the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the county government all coming together, we will be able to provide a continuum of care," Grieshop said.