Fellowship Place’s mission is to help adults with mental
illness lead more meaningful, fulfilling and healthy lives by offering
resources, education, and opportunity.
The agency is a multi-purpose center where clients may receive a variety
of supportive services in one location to improve quality of life and general
health. Fellowship’s programs
complement traditional psychiatric services by providing opportunities for
clients to structure their day, learn new skills, and form positive
relationships. On the campus,
clients access help with basic needs
such as healthy meals and housing, peer support, skill building groups,
physical recreation, health screening, job training and career development
services, expressive arts therapy, counseling and case management.
Fellowship Place serves over 740 adults annually on a New Haven campus open 365 days a year. The majority served suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. At least one third also have a co-occurring substance abuse problem, and nearly all live below the federal poverty level. They struggle with unemployment, risk of homelessness & poor physical health. Each client is assigned a counselor who helps him/her develop an individualized service plan that establishes goals for improving functioning level and self-sufficiency. The service plan helps to create for the individual an expanding safety net that will minimize crisis situations; prevent relapses or setbacks in the recovery process, and reduce hospitalizations. By providing a safe and therapeutic environment, Fellowship helps clients learn and practice basic life-skills, gain job training & employment, find affordable housing, and improve physical and mental wellness.
1960 through the collaborative efforts of the Mental Health Association of New
Haven, the Jewish Community Center, local psychiatrists, & community
volunteer Phyllis McDowell, in its early years, Fellowship Place functioned
primarily as a drop-in social club for psychiatric patients discharged from
state mental hospitals. Over the last 55 years, we have experienced significant
growth & success, expanding to a full-service psychosocial rehab center
located on a New Haven campus, open 365 days a year. More than 650 people
annually receive support services to help them manage their illness, learn new
skills, and achieve productive roles in the greater community. Our mission is
carried out through 5 core programs:
-Psychosocial Rehab Center: Structured & unstructured activities, including illness management groups, peer-support groups, health & wellness groups, lifeskills & self-advocacy groups, social & recreational activities, daily meals, & monolingual Spanish-speaking support.
-Career Development: Services to help develop the skills & confidence required to find and keep a job in the competitive marketplace, including on-site paid internships, and placement in competitive employment. Supported education services are available for those interested in returning to school. GED classes and assistance enrolling in post-secondary education programs are also offered on campus.
-Fellowship Inn Homeless Drop-In Center: Outreach & engagement for those staying in local homeless shelters. Monday-Friday, staff drive to local shelters and offer shelter residents transportation to and from the Inn where they receive counseling, access to support services, laundry & shower facilities, and meals during daytime hours when shelters are normally closed.
-Supported Housing: Case management for tenants who reside in four apartment buildings (45 units of affordable housing) owned & operated by the agency.
-CREST (Community Reporting Engagement Support and Treatment): Structured day reporting program with case management & counseling for people with mental illness referred from the criminal justice system. Operated in partnership with The Connection, Inc. & the CT Mental Health Center.
Fellowship Place is serving more clients than ever in our 55 yr history; in FY16 the agency saw a 14% growth in unduplicated clients. Our Healthy Meals initiative, which addresses our clients food insecurity & basic nutritional needs, served over 31,250 free nutritional meals (7% increase over FY15). In FY16 the agency saw the growth of our Expressive Arts program, including formation of the agency’s Music in the Moment band which has been invited to perform at the City of New Haven’s birthday celebration, and the development of an Expressive Arts Festival hosted in collaboration with community partners, which we hope to make an annual event. In FY16 the agency also saw the development of a newcomers group to help our clients acclimate into our programs & services, and introduced peer mentors in our Housing, Social, and Career Development programs. Our Supportive Employment program exceeded its DMHAS benchmark with 54% of clients obtaining competitive employment. Our Supported Ed Program exceeded its DMHAS benchmark with 84% completing their educational term. The Fellowship Inn Homeless Center served 99 people with an avg daily attendance of 16 (peak days serving as many as 31), 33 clients were housed through a variety of efforts such as the Coordinated Access Network, Section 8 and the VA. Supportive Housing program staff provided over 2000 hours of case management & counseling services to our tenants.
• Grand re-opening of the Birgitta Johnson Memorial building & Fellowship Inn Homeless Drop-in Center (renovation funded with a CT Non-profit Grant award from the Office of Policy & Management and private funds raised by the agency’s capital campaign)
•October 2016 Fall Benefit
• Secure adequate general operating funds from private sources to maintain current staff & service levels (no staff lay-offs or reduction in hours of operation)
•Explore development of targeted services for older adults with mental illness & adults on the autism spectrum
• Funding of our Healthy Meals Initiative, so we may continue to incorporate healthy choices into the diets of the men & women we serve to address the serious health problems associated with their illness. Access to food & nutrition are vital to improving their health & wellness, yet nearly all served are unable to afford their daily meals.
• Securing general operating funds to maintain level of services and current staffing levels, as well as funds to continue Salary Enhancement project to retain existing quality staff and remaining competitive in attracting future hires.
• Actively seeking new Board members from the local business community.
Place plays a critical role in the greater New Haven mental health service
system. The agency provides rehabilitation
and therapeutic support to over 740 people annually and is available to our
clients seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Fellowship Place’s open door format means that our clients have access
to a counselor from early morning to early evening, at times when traditional
clinics are closed. As a result, our
staff is frequently able to prevent a crisis or an emergency room visit. Many of our clients attend programs at the
agency on a daily basis. This means our
counselors are often the first to become aware of changes in behavior,
substance abuse activity, physical health problems, or housing issues that may
jeopardize our clients’ safety and overall well-being. In such cases, our staff is trained to
respond quickly, and to work with the client and his/her clinical team on a
plan that will minimize or prevent a serious problem.
Over the last few years, Fellowship Place has continued to evolve as a “one stop shop”, where people may access healthy meals, physical recreation programs, expressive arts therapy, case management, clinical and skill building groups, supported housing, as well as vocational services. Our staff works closely with clinicians at the CT Mental Health Center and other outpatient clinics on coordinated service plans that promote self-sufficiency and maximize our clients’ follow-through with treatment. The agency is also an active participant in New Haven’s Coordinated Access Network for the Homeless. The agency’s homeless drop-in center is a hub where the homeless may attend to their basic needs (showering, laundry, and food) and meet with a social worker who will connect them with other important services.
Fellowship Place believes that treatment outcomes for the mentally ill improve when services are easy to navigate and give individuals a voice in charting their own path to recovery. We believe offering a wide array of services in one place at flexible hours is cost effective and the best way to make certain people who suffer from a mental illness realize their potential for a productive life.
An investment in Fellowship Place is an investment in the community. Our services help improve the lives of our individual clients and, equally important, our services reduce the burden on families, hospitals, the police, and government, that result when the mentally ill do not have a place to turn for help and support.
One in four Americans suffers from a mental illness. Yet stigma and misinformation continue to
exist in our society, often preventing people who need help from seeking and
getting help. Since joining the Board of
Fellowship Place, I have come to understand how complicated and multi-faceted mental
illness really is. Mental illness
strikes people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, often in the prime of their
lives. There is no cure. Medication and good psychiatric care help and
are essential, but the most ill, who are at high risk for homelessness and
repeated hospitalizations, need a comprehensive array of holistic services. This is why Fellowship
Place is so important to our community. Fellowship Place is a hidden gem in the
Dwight neighborhood of New Haven. We
serve close to 700 mentally ill adults a year.
Most of our clients have no family, few social supports, and struggle
with poverty, inadequate housing and unemployment. Self-medication with alcohol and illegal
drugs is also a major problem.
Unfortunately, over the last several years, government funding for community based mental health agencies has become stagnant and has threatened the continuation of services. The Board of Fellowship Place has recognized the need for diversified funding, and the agency has assertively sought private support. In the long run, an investment in Fellowship Place is an investment in the community. Fellowship Place provides an alternative to caring for the mentally in long term hospitals or the criminal justice system, options which are not only more expensive but less humane as well. Fellowship Place promotes a healthy, safe, and inclusive community.
Outreach & engagement for individuals with chronic mental illness who are staying in local homeless shelters. Monday-Friday, staff drive to local shelters and offer adult residents transportation to and from the Inn on our campus, where they receive counseling and access to a variety of support services during daytime hours when shelters are normally closed. Open daily from 7:30am to 2:00pm, the Inn provides a low-key, warm, caring environment. Services offered include breakfast & lunch, laundry & shower facilities, a computer learning center, social & recreational outings, educational services, case management services, referral services, information groups, recovery and skill building groups, educational & vocational counseling and transportation to/from medical appointments.
When a person suffering from mental illness comes to the Inn for the first time, short-term challenges include cognitive deficits, isolation, brushes with the law, substance abuse, and unemployment. The Inn gives them a safe, warm, caring and structured environment away from the streets where they are welcomed & accepted. Upon first arrival, emphasis is placed on meeting their basic needs such as food, laundry, shower, and linking them with psychiatric and health care in the community. They also receive assessments & services toward building a support system for management of their illness. Short-term goals are to maintain a daily program capacity of 90%; at least 60% served annually will have increased or maintained their number of social supports in improving their management of their own illness; and at least 80% of respondents to the annual consumer satisfaction survey will rate services positively.
Long-term goals include all individuals entering the Inn, homeless and with a mental illness, determined eligible for Social Security Disability, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs; live in permanent housing; and gain full or part time employment. When a person suffering from chronic mental illness comes to the Inn for the first time, they typically do not have support systems in place to manage their illness. They are living in a shelter situation, in a tent, or on the streets and affecting their long-term success rate is the additional assistance needed accessing other community services. The Inn provides them with a springboard to those services; a computer-learning center, educational & vocational counseling, social & recreational outings, case management services, referral services, information groups, recovery and skill building groups, and transportation to/from medical appointments.
Every client has a psychosocial assessment completed at intake and every 6 months until discharge. All clients are encouraged to complete a consumer satisfaction survey. Data collected also includes utilization rates and regular assessments by staff and self-assessments by those served, to ensure that each individual’s service plan goals are met. A variety of reports help track and evaluate individuals, program capacities, and agency-wide outcomes.
Our housing is at full occupancy; tenants fulfill obligations under their lease, e.g., pay rent, maintain their apartment, etc. Tenants attend tenant meetings and participate in building activities. Short term goals include a utilization rate of 90% will be achieved; at least 85% of individuals served annually will improve or maintain their living situation and level of independence; and at least 80% will rate services positively on their consumer satisfaction surveys.
Long-term goals include tenants living in supportive housing, remaining in their apartments and achieving optimal quality of life and community living. Tenants will not require higher level of care; not evicted for non-conformance with lease requirements. Tenants become involved in employment, volunteer work or other community activities. The supportive housing services they receive in this program, over time, facilitate access to clinical, medical, social, educational, rehabilitative, employment and other services that have proven to be essential to one achieving optimal quality of life and community living.
Tenants receive psychosocial assessments every 6 months. Monthly occupancy reports are reviewed. Answers to overall service questions in the form of a consumer satisfaction survey are recorded & tracked, assessing quality of services. Data collected also includes participation rates, regular assessments by staff and self-assessments to ensure each individual’s service plan goals are met and they are maintaining their housing status. The New Haven Housing Authority, HUD and the CT Dept. of Social Services conduct regular inspections of the housing units and reports on the status of cleanliness and maintenance of each unit.
Prevocational, vocational & education services. The program addresses the employment barriers associated with mental illness, including poor work/education history, lack of confidence, workplace discrimination & inflexibility, and social stigma. Services include:
Supportive Education: Education assessment & planning, GED classes & tutoring, assistance with the college enrollment process as well as on-going support while enrolled in classes
Pre-Vocational Training: develop the skills & confidence required to find and keep a job in the competitive marketplace. Campus internships in Food Service, Maintenance, & Clerical are available for those with little or no work history who need a supportive environment to develop & practice skills
Job Placement & Support: Help with resume writing, identifying potential employers in the community, completing job applications & preparing for interviews. Help placing people in jobs, advocacy with employers and follow-up support
include a utilization rate of 90% will be achieved; at least 35% of the
unduplicated number of unemployed individuals served annually will obtain or
increase their competitive employment; at least 60% of the unduplicated number
of individuals served annually will maintain their competitive employment for
at least 90 calendar days. At least 80% of respondents to the DMHAS consumer
satisfaction survey will rate services positively. At least 70% of individuals
enrolled in school will remain in their education program until the completion
of their term. We will increase the number of employment and educational
partnerships in the program.
Long-term goals include all individuals with a mental illness participating in the program will achieve increased self-sufficiency & economic independence by gaining full-time employment or returning to school to further their educational goals.
A consumer satisfaction survey is conducted annually where results are recorded and tracked, assessing quality of services. Data collected also includes participation rates, regular assessments by staff and self-assessments to ensure each individual’s service plan goals are met. Each individual works with a job coach for individualized, intensive supportive services. The job coach teaches, provides support, and gives evaluations and constructive feedback designed to help them reach their short-term goals and move to the next stage of their long-term career development goals.
In 2016 the program served 147 unduplicated adults. 54% of
unemployed clients served obtained competitive employment. This year saw the
development of a volunteer program to help people who had gaps in their work
history gain work experience. Led by a peer specialist, the program placed
individuals in volunteer positions in the community, including a local animal
shelter, Yale New Haven Hospital, and Yale Sustainable Agriculture.
Open 365 days a year, including all holidays and weekends, offers a variety of structured & unstructured activities daily, designed to help people find meaningful ways to structure their day and connect with others who face similar challenges. Activities include but are not limited to the following:
Health & Wellness Programs: peer support, life skills & illness management, dealing with difficult emotions, building self esteem, relapse prevention
Basic Needs Services: daily meals
Social & Recreational Programs: young adult program, Hispanic peer support group, computer center open lab, Zumba, yoga & an all-star softball team, holiday celebrations and other social & recreational activities
Expressive Arts: art groups, music & performances, and drama workshops
Leadership Training: member government, peer support training and legislative advocacy
Into each individual’s service plan, access to a variety of activities and community services will be incorporated, expanding the reach of the individual's safety net to help minimize the occurrence or impact of severe crisis situations. At least 60% of individuals served annually will have increased or maintained the number of social supports. At least 80% of respondents the annual consumer satisfaction survey will rate services positively. 400 unduplicated individuals will participate in activities and receive services toward building a support system for management of their illness. We will achieve a daily program capacity of a minimum of 63 people.
Long term goals include individuals with mental illness participating in the program will increase their number of social supports and improve the management of their own illness. In addressing their social needs through a variety of activities, they will learn critical skills and behaviors while improving their progress and overall health & wellness. Individuals will achieve or regain the confidence and skills necessary to lead vocationally productive and socially satisfying lives.
An annual consumer satisfaction survey is conducted where results are recorded and tracked, assessing quality of services. Also, as a member follows his/her service plan, other relevant data is collected; data related to daily attendance and activities; data from critical incidence reports to monitor for increases or decreases in crisis situation; data related to participation rates, assessments by staff and self-assessments. Every 6 months a member's service plan is reviewed, personal progress goals are adjusted and a revised service plan is put in place. Based on this approach, increases in positive treatment outcomes are experienced by both men and women as they continue learning critical skills & behaviors, improving their progress and overall health & wellness, greatly reducing the risk of relapse, hospitalization, or a setback in their recovery process.
Sound management & planning have resulted in a long
history of exploring community resources to expand services. Our significant
growth over the years, led by our Strategic Planning Committee and guided by
research & data on the unmet needs of our target population, has resulted
in endeavors into the supportive housing arena, the criminal justice system and
young adult services.
In 1996 the Fellowship Inn was established to provide outreach & engagement for people with mental illness staying in local homeless shelters.
In 2002 our Supportive Housing program was established. With local funding, we purchased & renovated 3 buildings to provide 22 units of supportive housing. Additional funding was secured to provide onsite case management services.
In 2007 we partnered with the Connection & the CT Mental Health Center to establish CREST (Community Reporting Engagement Support & Treatment) to provide a day reporting program for people with mental illness referred from the criminal justice system.
In 2009 we completed renovations to Fellowship Commons Westville, an 18-unit apartment building purchased & renovated to provide more affordable housing to adults with psychiatric disabilities.
In 2010, with help from a local foundation, we established a Young Adult Program to meet the specialized needs of a growing number of young adults suffering from mental illness.
In 2011 we secured private funding to hire a Clinical Coordinator allowing the agency to be more responsive to clients who present significant case management issues in the Clubhouse.
In 2012 we hosted the grand opening of a new state of the art Psychosocial Rehab center with expanded program & meeting spaces.
In 2013 we received funding to expand our Supported Employment services to include a peer-to-peer Graduate Program.
In 2013 we began planning for renovations to our rear campus building.
In 2014 our Healthy Meals Initiative began utilizing an evidence-based recovery curriculum designed by Boston University Nutrition & Fitness Center and Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.
In 2015 the Fellowship Inn became a Coordinated Access Network (CAN) assessment site, in the City of New Haven OPENING DOORS, a regional alliance to prevent & end homelessness.
In 2015 we received funding from the Melville Charitable Trust Employment & Educational Opportunity Fund, to develop an education scholarship program for homeless & formerly homeless individuals.
Executive Director Mary A. Guerrera, LCSW was appointed Executive Director in April 2007, following the retirement of the former Executive Director. She has more than 30 years experience in the human service field, having held direct service and management positions in child welfare, elder services and mental health. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Connecticut, and is a licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Connecticut. Her responsibilities are in managing day-to-day operations, reporting to the Board, and the consistent achievement of the agency's mission & financial objectives. In her tenure as Executive Director, she has significantly expanded the agency's programming, restructured operations for better efficiency, and increased the agency's fiscal status.
LuAnn joined Fellowship in March 2005 as an Accounting Manager and was appointed Business Director in July 2006. Ms. Buono has a BS in Accounting and a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. She has more than 25 years experience in the accounting field. She is responsible for budgeting, financial reporting and policies, cash management, and accounting controls.
Sandi has been with the agency for over 15 years, starting as an Employment Specialist and promoted to Director in 2013. She has a MS Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial Organizational Psychology. As Director, Sandi oversees a Supported Employment Program, a Supported Education Program, an Internship Training Program, and a Volunteer Program.
We are a Community Service Network of New Haven partner, a collaborative
of 18 agencies that provide an array of coordinated behavioral health services
to people throughout the community. Clinical partners include CT Mental Health
Center, Yale Behavioral Health Services, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
and the CT VA. Hill Health Center has provided a Physician's assistant free of
charge to provide health screenings, blood pressure checks & group health
discussions on our campus. We are a partner in a Substance Abuse & Mental
Health Services Admin Transformation Grant, to place a peer specialist in our
supportive housing program, to provide a variety of on-site activities to
enhance our supportive housing services. Employment & Education community
collaborators have included Stop & Shop Supermarkets and Whitson’s Culinary
Group for employment programs, Gateway Community College disability office for
assistance making special accommodations for students who need supportive
resources and New Haven Adult Ed for onsite GED classes. We are a CT Food Bank
agency, a partnership that provides us with an average of 27,000 lbs of food
annually at a reduced cost. We also partner with “City Seed” Farmers Market,
for affordable, locally grown fresh produce for our Healthy Meals Initiative.
Navigating the economic downturn has been a great challenge
for all nonprofit organizations in our community. Fellowship is no exception.
Between 2007 and 2016, our agency received flat funding from the CT Department
of Mental Health & Addiction Services, our primary revenue source. Despite
this, the Board of Directors made a commitment several years ago to preserve
direct services and to maintain our longstanding tradition of being open to our
clients seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year. We reorganized
our administrative staff, reduced our use of consultants, and actively pursued
private funding from foundations and private individuals. Our strategy has paid
off. Since 2009, we have added specialty programs for young adults, developed a
Drama group and a Music group, collaborated with regional agencies on services
to help our clients quit smoking, and expanded supportive housing and outreach
services for monolingual Hispanic clients.
Our work is made possible by a committed and engaged Board of Directors, and employees who are not only qualified but who really care about the work they do. Every member of the Board serves on at least one Committee, and more than 95% support the agency financially. Most importantly, Fellowship recognizes the needs of our clients as vast and complex, making it very important to actively pursue partnerships with other community organizations and the business community. Our staff is an active member of the Community Services Network at the CT Mental Health Center, Opening Doors New Haven, the Dwight Central Management Team, and various other community groups committed to improving the quality of life in New Haven. We partner with a number of non-profit organizations on job training and other specialty services for our clients.
There is no other program like Fellowship in New Haven, and I am certain that without Fellowship Place, there would be more homeless mentally ill people wandering the streets of New Haven, without a safe place to come to every day. At Fellowship, we offer practical help like meals, support to find a job or housing, and most importantly, positive ways to structure the day. We all know how important it is to feel useful and productive.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The above funding deficits and so much uncertainty at the State create challenges for our agency; pending cuts threaten staff layoffs and reduction of services to clients both of which affect our ability to fulfill our mission. Cuts to our state contract will mean the agency faces reducing hours of operation, eliminating vital client transportation, and eliminating critical programs such as our Young Adult services, Expressive Arts Program, and Healthy Meals Initiative. Over the past few years the state made available to nonprofits a number of opportunities for funds specifically targeting infrastructure improvements. Much of the agency’s development activity during that time was spent taking advantage of these opportunities because our main program buildings were in desperate need of upgrades to bring them up to modern day standards and keep up with a growing demand for services. It is also important to note, however, that at the same time the state did not offer adequate funding in support of providing client services. With a solid infrastructure now in place after years of upgrades to our main program buildings through state funded opportunities targeting capital improvements (while not offered adequate funding from the state in support of providing client services), the agency this year initiated a Strategic Development Committee to focus on the need for direct service funding. Emphasis is placed on diversifying our unrestricted general operating support, so we may continue to improve our ability to serve our existing population, keep up with the needs of a growing population, retain existing qualified employees and remain competitive in attracting future hires.
Fellowship Place fills a great need in the lives of the mentally ill in New Haven who are struggling with the daily challenges of living with their illness. The people we serve are among the poorest, most vulnerable in our community. Many see their clinical providers only once a month; Fellowship Place provides a place for them to receive support services, including crisis intervention and counseling, in between visits to their clinical providers. Services provided complement their clinical mental health care, and provide opportunities for them to learn to structure their day, learn new skills, and work toward increasing stability and self-sufficiency. We know the costs of untreated mental illness can place a heavy burden on a community. At Fellowship Place, each individual served receives a customized recovery plan with a variety of support services to help them improve the management of their illness. Each individual's recovery plan helps create an expanding safety net to help minimize the occurrence of severe crisis situations; ultimately preventing relapses or setbacks in their recovery process, reducing hospitalizations and the burden on local police and other emergency responders, at a cost savings to our community.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.
A healthy community is a rich community. When we enjoy good health, when we engage in wellness activities – and when we support people living with disease or disabilities -- there are profound physical and psychological benefits. Simply put, we are all stronger and happier. To support the health and wellness initiatives in your community is to put good health within reach of all.
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