More than Housing: Behavioral Health Services Help Clients Escape Homelessness

Bernice R.’s past is marked with trauma. As a child and through adulthood she experienced neglect, abuse, rape and more.

“I went through a lot. I didn’t even go to school until I was 11.”

As she got older and had her own family, Bernice did the best she could for herself and her five children, but lacking a support system took a significant toll.

“I was on the streets most of my grown life. I tried drinking my problems away and that didn’t help. I had no support.”

After going in and out of shelter programs, staying with different family members, and even spending a year away from her children in prison, several years ago Bernice got help through CaringWorks. She says she still remembers the day she got her own apartment.

“I kept saying ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ I prayed over my apartment. I’ve been at peace ever since being here.”

Bernice with her daughter and granddaughter.

Today at 65 years old, Bernice is sober and stable, and maintains a good relationship with her family.

“I’m grateful for where I’m at,” she said.

But housing support isn’t all that’s helped Bernice get to where she is today. She also receives behavioral health services through CaringWorks. She meets with a nurse who helps her manage medication for bipolar disorder and depression, and she participates in group therapy sessions twice a week with other CaringWorks clients.

“It’s helpful for me to know the things to do to keep me strong. It keeps me calm and peaceful.”

CaringWorks Behavioral Health Clinical Director Nadine Oldham says that for many people experiencing homelessness, achieving stability means addressing the invisible struggles of mental health and substance abuse issues.

CaringWorks Behavioral Health Clinical Director Nadine Oldham

“There are harmful stereotypes that exist of people experiencing homelessness. But their situation often results from mental health conditions that are not only debilitating on their own, but that also contribute to their inability to maintain housing and employment. With the right support and resources, they can break the cycle of homelessness.”

Nadine says CaringWorks’ holistic and comprehensive approach of providing housing and support such as behavioral health services is key to client success.

“We help people cope with past traumas and we use behavioral health interventions that equip and empower them to develop the skills, confidence and desire to rebuild their lives and achieve stability.”

Leaning on her strong faith and determination to succeed, Bernice says she is thankful for CaringWorks and its team members.

“They are some good people. They will help you when you help yourself.”

Bernice with her Godson and his wife.

Help more people like Bernice break the cycle of homelessness.


About CaringWorks:

Built on the single idea that all people—no matter their social or economic standing—should have a chance to improve their quality of life, CaringWorks has served thousands of clients throughout our 20-plus-year history. Since our inception, we have grown exponentially to become one of Georgia’s leaders in providing permanent supportive housing. We serve hundreds of individuals each year through unique programs and services that are specifically tailored to the needs of those facing chronic homelessness.

Donate today to help us end homelessness.

April 2024