Test Drive - Page 8

Roberts House Opens to Serve Clients Transitioning from Hospital The opening of Roberts House on Septemer 4, 2012, was an exciting addition to the Supportive Living program’s transitional housing. Much like its sister housing, Hamilton House, the nine-bedroom house provides live-in support services to those who have experienced difficulty living independently because of a mental disorder, more specifically, schizophrenia and other mood disorders. Noelle West, Program Manager for the house, says it is a welcomed alternative to the hospital for many, where clients are referred from through Alberta Health Services. “We also know, and studies show, people thrive more in the community than in hospital,” Noelle explains. “If 8 someone’s staying in hospital and they don’t really need the medical care, they’re not getting a chance to learn independent living skills.” So far, 15 clients have been accepted into the Roberts House program since its opening. Although many came from living with family members, some individuals were homeless prior to their hospitalization and would have had nowhere else to go after their hospital release. “We could use five more transitional houses like these, for sure,” Noelle explains. “I mean, with the amount of Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region referrals we get – almost every week – with only nine beds… not many people can access the program. There’s a need for it, absolutely.” Clients who stay at the house have their own room but share a common area, kitchen and several bathrooms throughout the house. Daily routine, a sleep schedule, chores, cooking and weekly activities both in and outside of the home are some of the ways Roberts House clients are supported in building their independence. Staff is on site 24-7. Noelle says she and her staff has