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Indian River County Hospital District Support Mental Health for Samaritan Center Residents

The Indian River County Hospital District approved support in providing mental health services to the residents of our Samaritan Center at their March 15 Comission meeting. The Samaritan Center is a transitional housing facility for homeless families in Vero Beach. This support will fund the hiring a FT Counselor to serve residents in-house and provide afterhours crisis support when needed. The counselor will meet with residents (adult heads of household and children individually) one time a week for a private therapy session as well as facilitate group sessions weekly. The counselor will be a part of the larger Catholic Charities counseling team of 4 counselors and 1 Administrative Assistant who work under the supervision of our Clinical Director, Jithin George, LMHC.  The $28,682.07 award will fund this position until September 2023.  Beyond September, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach will submit a grant application to continue the funding for this position from October 2023 to September 2024.  

The homeless families residing at the Samaritan Center are trauma burdened, work during the day, and experience the complications of living in a communal environment.  We have determined that the consistency of an in-house counselor who is available for after-hours crisis support is the optimal support for them as they work toward self-sufficiency and break the cycle of homelessness in their lives. The Samaritan Center’s capacity is 9 families or a maximum of 26 individuals.  

Catholic Charities will demonstrate success using two research-based tools. First, the Arizona Self Sufficiency Matrix (ASSM), taken periodically will measure the strides toward self-sufficiency each family achieves.  Also, Catholic Charities measures improvements in counseling client's mental well-being using the WHODAS 2.0 – The World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule. The WHODAS 2.0 measures average functioning in everyday situations for the last 30 days, and surveys six domains of functioning: (1) cognition (understanding and communicating), (2) mobility (ability to move and get around), (3) self-care (eg, with regard to hygiene, dressing, and eating) (4) getting along with others, (5) life activities (ability to attend to everyday responsibilities), and (6) participation in society. Catholic Charities proposes that as a result of the combination of the Samaritan Center’s self-sufficiency programs and group and individual counseling, 90% of residents will experience improvement on both their ASSM and WHODAS scores pre/post.  

We are so grateful to the Indian River County Hospital District for recognizing this important need for mental health care and supporting the mental health component of the Samaritan Center families' journeys toward self-sufficiency and stable housing.

The Indian River County Hospital District assesses a property tax to provide funding to organizations ensuring that essential health care programs and services; primary, specialty, dental, and mental/behavioral health, are available to benefit the entire community. We maintain ownership of  four properties leased to other organizations for the operation of healthcare activities. The District convenes providers and funding partners to address gaps in the healthcare continuum of care and help to find and fund solutions.