A Turning Point for Those Surviving on Our Streets

Turning Point Foundation in Ventura offers a variety of programs to help the mentally ill who are homeless.

“We really do believe that people with mental illness can and do recover,” said Clyde Reynolds, the founder and executive director of Turning Point Foundation. “They are able to manage their mental illness so that they can lead productive lives within the community.”

Turing Point’s Homeless to Home program is one such outreach it provides. Case man agers in the program not only reach out to the homeless offering housing support, but also connect the homeless to resources and services and the means needed to live in the community, including disability benefits and veteran benefits an individual may be entitled to. “We collaborate with the Salvation Army and Project Understanding within the Homeless to Home outreach program,” said Reynolds, adding “the goal of our Housing First Services is to place people in housing as quickly as possible and to give them the support needed to remain housed.”

Turning Point’s Our Place Safe Haven program is a short-term shelter that provides 10 beds where individuals begin their recovery. It allows individuals to get off the streets.

They are then given assistance in obtaining benefits, mental health services and permanent housing.

“Since the mentally ill are very vulnerable, it’s an ongoing process to off them housing and to get them off the streets,” Reynolds said.

Another housing opportunity is the River Haven Dome Community that has 19 geodesic domes (structures for a single individual or for couples) located in Ventura near Olivas Park Drive and Harbor Bouleva Road.

It can house 25 homeless, who otherwise would be living on the streets or in their cars.

Supported housing for the homeless, such as Ventura’s Stephenson Place” which has 10 single rooms ” is also provided by the Turning Point Foundation, as is Wooley House in Oxnard, a 15-unit, single room facility; and Appleton House in Simi Valley, a seven-bedroom home.

Residents at these sites pay one-third of their income to live there and receive case management and support.

Turning Point also manages Villa Calleguas, a 23 one-bedroom apartment complex in Camarillo for people who are mentally ill. The foundation is also currently developing an additional 10-unit single occupancy facility in Ventura to provide transitional housing to veterans who are homeless and mentally ill.

In addition, Turning Point runs programs funded through Ventura County Behavioral Health, including two rehabilitation centers, the Oxnard Club House and the Ventura New Visions Club House, the Wellness Center and the Quality of Life program.

The rehabilitation centers operate five days a week and provide mental health services and activities focused on enhancing daily living skills, and developing community living skills.

The newest program, the Quality of Life Program, places teams of peer support specialists in large board and care facilities where some of the individuals with mental illness are living. The programs include creative arts, and experiences like field trips into the community.

These peer support specialists enrich their living environment and integrate individuals into the community.

In November, Turning Point Foundation began celebrating 25 years of providing services within Ventura County.

Since all programs within the homeless continuum, which receive government funding, also rely on the community for financial support, please contact Turning Point Foundation at 652-0000 and/or go to www.turningpointfoundation.org to donate or to volunteer.

Carol Leish, of Oxnard, is a writer and motivational speaker about disability awareness.

March 9, 2014   Ventura Star