“Without Safe Place, I would have tried suicide.” said Blake, a resident of the program. “This is the only hope I’ve had in 15 years.”
Safe Place offers homeless mentally ill people housing and help to get back on their feet. Blake, who has been in therapy since he was 8 years old, said there is nothing like Safe Place. He is right. Safe Place was the only housing first residence in Florida until Steps Forward and Gracepoint opened Cypress Landing in January 2013. Safe Place staff emphasize following house rules about behavior but do not require residents to stop self-medicating their mental illness. It’s called a damp shelter. Case managers are always available and challenge each person to be better.
“It’s a wonderful balance between help, hope and accountability,” Blake added. Safe Place coaches residents to support each other and celebrate their successes. For individuals with a mental illness life is already challenging. “So many bad things can happen to you just with a mental illness, but add homelessness--self medicating with alcohol and drugs--and life can be out of control,” he said. Blake never thought he would reach his potential, “but here I know I won’t fail.”