Local News

New Digs

Mental health: Housing complex nearing completion.

Date: 9/11/2009

Posted by Compass Behavioral Health (formerly known as Area Mental Health Center) on 11/17/2009

Author:    Stephanie Farley


The flowers sat Thursday, ready to be planted outside the new housing complex Area Mental Health Center is having constructed near its Community Support Services building, 531 Campusview.

Construction crews are completing painting of the new complex's walls, and carpet still is being installed. But the complex is nearing completion, according to Lance Stone, housing and grant coordinator for Area Mental Health.

Stone estimates the facility will be done by Oct. 1.

The complex is being built through a $2.4 million grant under the Section 811 program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program provides funding to nonprofit organizations to develop rental housing with the availability of supportive services for low-income adults with disabilities, and also provides rent subsidies for the projects to make them affordable.

Dick Construction is the contractor for the 15-unit facility. Architects Kent Carmichael and Nick Nemechek also helped with the project. The new complex includes 14 one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom apartment for an onsite complex manager. The facility is located near the intersection of Campusview Street and Campusview Court. The location is about a block away from Area Mental Health's Community Support Services building, which provides community support and community-based services, as well as attendant care.

As Stone walked through the nearly complete complex, he explained each unit has its own patio, fire sprinkler system, smooth-top range stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. Two of the units are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, with walk-in showers.

The building has a community room with its own covered patio. And there's 24/7 video surveillance of the building, making it one of the safest places to live in Garden City. Stone said.

While the complex only is available to clients who meet the requirements for HUD housing, Stone said the 14 units still add to the area's housing stock, which is in short supply and in high demand.

Requirements for the complex include applicants having background checks; not being registered sex offenders; being diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness; and meeting HUD low-income requirements, which is 50 percent of the area median income or lower.

Stone said crews are in the "touching up" stage at this point with the building. He added that landscaping still needs to be done around the complex.

Stone anticipates HUD will be out Sept. 23 and 24 to do the final inspection of the building. And so far, he said, the center has received a lot of calls from citizens inquiring about the new housing option. The center still is taking applications for the apartment units.

Area Mental Health serves the counties of Ford, Finney, Gray, Grant, Greeley, Hamilton, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Morton, Scott, Stanton and Wichita. Area Mental Health received a Section 811 grant about 13 years ago through HUD to construct a 10-unit facility in Dodge City for those with disabilities, including severe and persistent mental illness.

Stone watched the Dodge City complex, which has operated since 1996, remain full. He saw the same need for housing for clients in Garden City and pushed Area Mental Health Executive Director Ric Dalke to look at building a similar complex -- Golden Plains II Inc. -- for Garden City. After wading through the HUD application process, Dalke, Stone and others with Area Mental Health are seeing the facility come to fruition.

The Section 811 program aims to allow people with disabilities "to live as independently as possible in the community" by increasing the supply of rental housing with available supportive services, which could include case management, vocational support and services, educational support, peer support, treatment for mental health and drug and alcohol treatment.

"It looks nice, functional," Stone said.

It's been more than two years of work to see the project through.

"The project speaks for itself if you look at it," he said.

For more information on the complex or to apply for housing, contact Area Mental Health at its Community Support Services facility, 275-9434.

For more information: www.areamhc.org