Mental health group home opens in Port Penn
What happens when a person leaves a mental health institution but isn't ready to live alone? One solution is a group home like the one that just opened in Port Penn.
After four years of planning and construction, a group home for low-income individuals who have mental health issues or disabilities opened at 706 Port Penn Road in Middletown, near the coastal town of Port Penn.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Oct. 14 for the 4,500-square-foot house called “Penn Place,” which is one of more than 100 facilities operated by Connections Community Support Programs. Penn Place is the first Connections facility in southern New Castle County. The home has 10 bedrooms, six full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen.
Connections provides services for adults, children and families with intellectual and physical disabilities, mental health issues and substance-use disorders, helping more 15,000 people across the state.
County Executive Matt Meyer, director of Delaware State Housing Anas Ben-Addi, Director of Delaware State Housing and Connections chief executive officer Bill Northey spoke at the ceremony.
Ben-Addi said this home is for those who have left an institution but due to the help they still need, they aren’t ready to live on their own.
“It's about having the options, so folks who are facing challenges have options that will flip their situation. It might not be the right option forever, but at least for where they are, it's the best fit. This project really fills that gap to have the option that is much needed,” he said.
Meyer said COVID-19 can affect everyone, but it has disproportionately affected low-income individuals, making facilities like Penn Place even more crucial.
“It's actually a time when the services connections provide are more important than ever before,” he said.
Those with incomes at or below 30% of the median income for the area would qualify for housing.
Ben-Addi said this is the first project in Delaware to use the National Housing Trust, which targets “building, rehabilitating, preserving, and operating rental housing for extremely low-income people,” according to National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website. The trust was a part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.
During the ceremony, Northey said, “It's been a collaborative labor of love,” to get his building finished.