Public invited to open house on schizophrenia

Red Deer is in the forefront of community care in Alberta for people with schizophrenia.

Red Deer is in the forefront of community care in Alberta for people with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, in partnership with Alberta Health Services – Addiction and Mental Health, want to welcome the public to an open house at the housing facility Kentwood Place on Nov. 18.

Rubyann Rice, executive director of the society’s Red Deer chapter, said people from around the province have been visiting the innovative transitional housing facility with rooms for 25 residents.

“On a weekly basis we have people coming to see it,” Rice said.

“The schizophrenia society is hoping to work with Alberta Health Services in other communities to model this type of program and facility.”

The facility housed people with severe, persistent mental illness for three years prior to the society purchasing the building in July 2010.

The society received a $1.6 million grant from Alberta Seniors and Community Supports to buy the building and recently completed $250,000 in renovations by adding to its mortgage.

Now it’s dedicated to people with schizophrenia and licensed as a supportive living facility.

The facility is designed for people who have left psychiatric hospital care. Residents have their own bedrooms and share washrooms and common space, with nursing and support staff. The intent is to help residents learn to become more independent.

“If they don’t have those supports and that stability and have a safe place to live when they get out of hospital, there’s a high risk of becoming homeless,” Rice said.

She knew of three residents in the past year who have moved out on their own or into less supportive housing.

Residents range in age from 21 to over 65 and there is waiting list in Central Alberta for beds.

“It’s a huge need throughout Alberta.”

The open house at 120 Kendrew Dr. will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

In attendance will be Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Fred Horne and Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, who was instrumental in getting funding for Kentwood Place as minister of Seniors and Community Supports.

After a short program, refreshments and tours will be available.