Overview of Essex Street - Habitat PLUS Home
As our Vets approach the ornately wrought iron fence surrounding the 1840’s Victorian Mansard Mansion where they live, they get the feeling of coming home. Through the front gate, up the stone front steps and into the grand foyer with its exquisite mahogany staircase there are transported back in time to when this home was a created for a family.
The walls are covered in period wallpaper, hardwood floors gleam and the crystal chandelier casts warm light throughout. The formal parlor has been furnished with sofas, comfortable chairs, a big screen tv, reading spaces with a comfortable white marble fireplace.
Upstairs are the bedrooms and bathrooms where our Vet live. Each unit has a fully tiled bathroom with shower. The rooms are large with tall ceilings, large windows with plenty of light and hardwood floors. This is their home and it is cozy and comfortable for all.
The Habitat P.L.U.S., Inc. (HP) Veterans’ Program has been in operation since 1989. This unique housing alternative was established in memory of the founders’ cousin, Stanley J Egan, killed in action at the age of 19 in Vietnam. HP was created to help those veterans, who had “fallen between the cracks” of the existing service systems and living on the streets of our communities. Many of these veterans were veterans with psychiatric disabilities. As a result, we set out to create a community of disabled veterans, in which they could find mutual acceptance and support. In this supported environment, the veteran gains stability and is often able to break the cycle of repeat hospitalizations and resulting homelessness.
Habitat PLUS Inc’s Mission Statement
“To provide supportive, sober housing to psychiatrically disabled veterans, who would otherwise be homeless and to provide program participants with information and advocacy to access existing service systems. The goal for program participants is to maintain stable housing.”
HP works to create the least restrictive, yet supportive environment, which meets the need of the community of residents. Veterans are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. We work with individuals seeking to reach their individual peak level of independence. Graduation from the Main House Group Residence model to the Co-operative Apartment Program is a possibility for those with higher skill potential. HP is the only Community Residential Care (CRC) home that offers this unique continuum of care.
We Offer Reasonable and affordable rates.
Convenient location: HP is located in Lynn, MA. Lynn is located on the Atlantic Ocean, approximately ten miles north of Boston and extremely accessible via public transportation. The city has historic architecture, two beaches, many restaurants and vital art and cultural venues. It boasts the second largest municipal park in the United States, the 2,200-acre Lynn Woods Reservation, with 30 miles of trails for many outdoor activities, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead.
- Private and semi-private accommodations.
- Continuum of Care: Possible transition to the Co-operative Apartment Program (CAP), conveniently located next door to the Main Residence.
- Live-in direct care staff and cleaning/maintenance staff.
- Staff coverage 365 days a year.
- Meals prepared by staff and served family style.
- Daily medication reminders and monitoring of all self-medicating residents.
- On-going advocacy and case management.
- Sober environment.
- Federally Licensed Continuing Care Facility.
Most of our chronically psychiatrically disabled veterans are referred to us through the Community Residential Care (CRC) program of the Massachusetts Veterans Administration Hospital. The disabilities of these veterans are preventing them from maintaining themselves independently in the community and therefore, they require a supportive housing situation in order to avoid decompensation, repeat hospitalization, and the resulting cyclic homelessness.
Each veteran in our program carries a diagnosis of one form or another of a major mental health disability such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and many with physical limitations, as well. As a result, each individual usually subsides on a fixed income from SSI, SSDI, a VA non-service connected or a service-connected pension. There are various situations that have contributed to our veteran’s homeless status.
After being homeless for an extended period of time, many veterans experience a loss of self-esteem and the ability to direct the course of their lives. The first step in assisting these individuals is to empower them.
There is no time limit imposed on our residents concerning their length of stay at HP. Those who wish to remain with our program are granted permanent housing. The average age of our veterans is sixty-one years and eight months. Due to our unique philosophy and the support we offer, their stability is reflected in the average length of stay of eleven years and seven months.