HABITAT P.L.U.S BACKGROUND
Our veterans’ supportive housing program was privately established in 1989 as a memorial to Stanley J. Egan. Stanley, a cousin of the organization’s founders, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969. In 1990, the founders purchased an 1847 Jacob Cohen Mansard Victorian in downtown Lynn to serve as the home base for the program. This 18-room home was then restored including new plumbing and electrical systems and opened serving three formerly homeless veterans. Today, that house serves ten veterans in a group home setting.
Within the first two years of operation, a number of the residents had stabilized and needed a less restrictive, yet supportive housing option. As a result, in 1992, the founders purchased an abandoned legal five-family apartment building located next door to the group home. After $89,000 of extensive renovations, including replacing the roof, plumbing, safety systems, painting, and furnishings, this additional building was then opened as a step-up Cooperative Apartment Program, now serving up to four veterans.
In 1995, after establishing a sound foundation and proven track record, the founders of the organization applied for and received non-profit status for the agency now known as Habitat P.L.U.S., Inc (HP). This enabled the organization to continue its mission-driven programs and pursue additional funding sources for the programs. In July 1998, HP was awarded a $100,000 cost reimbursement contract, through the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS), to support resident services. In 2004, this funding was increased to $190,000. We were level funded at this amount for four years. Unfortunately, due to the economic crisis of 2008, our funding was reduced for each of the five following years, resulting in a total loss of $154,000 in funding. As HP was under-funded even at the 2008 level, this was a crippling blow to such a small grassroots organization. The contract amount with DVS at this time is $191,358.56. HP currently offers two housing options:
Group Home Program (serving ten veterans)
In this model, the residents are served by live-in staff and the level of supervision is very high. Other than when the residents are out at day-programs, these participants have a staff person on duty to respond to their needs. Staff prepares and serves all meals family-style; provides supervision in the area of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) skills management and medication supervision.
The completely furnished group home provides six single-bedrooms and two double bedrooms. The first two floors house the veteran’s quarters and include an elegant 22’ x 14’ living room with a white marble fireplace and crystal chandelier, a fully equipped kitchen, a common dining area, and a laundry and storage room in the basement. The third floor consists of three separate apartments, which house two direct care live-in staff and one live-in cleaning/maintenance person.
Cooperative Apartment Program (serving four veterans)
Our second housing option is a step-up Cooperative Apartment Program (CAP). The residents in this program have stabilized at the group home over time and have acquired the skills for more independence. The Cooperative Apartment Program enables HP to provide a unique continuum of care for residents not typically found in other programs serving this population. As veterans in the Group Home Program are able to manage and control the effects of their disability, without extensive staff assistance, they can graduate from the group home and move