Most Viewed Stories
Homes provide transition to productive, healthy lives
Every Monday for the next several months, the Yuma Sun will spotlight a different organization striving to help Yuma's community during the lean summer months.
Those who have just completed their terms in county jail or prison, or graduated from a program at the Crossroads Mission, may not yet be ready to be on their own.
To help prepare these men and women to become fully functional and contributing members of society, the mission offers transitional housing at two group homes in the Historic North End.
Serenity House, 244 S. 3rd Ave., serves men while Harmony House, 261 S. 3rd Ave., is available for women.
“It is important, especially for the prisoners and people out of programs that have had such structure, to get them to do a little bit at a time to be an engaged productive citizen,” said Myra Garlit, executive director of Crossroads Mission.
“I like this because it helps you meet the need of the individual. Maybe... there is some issue that they have from their past, and they are cleaning up that wreckage. We can help them with that while they are here, so they don't have to go down the same street they went down before. They can live in success.”
Hundreds of people have returned to happy, healthy and productive lives thanks to the two homes, said Griselda Baro, compliance coordinator for Crossroads Mission.
“You can see the progress they make,” Baro said.
Serenity House includes one larger group home and three small cottages capable of housing two men each. The buildings were built in the late 1940s. The main building has been used in the past as a meeting center for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The transitional housing has been in existence continuously since 1986 and was taken over by Crossroads Mission in about 1998 when the organization began renting the property. The mission then purchased the complex about five years later.
“Over the years this place has seen a lot of action,” Garlit said.
The property for Harmony House is provided by the United Methodist Church, which donates the home for use by the mission.
Neither transitional home is a treatment facility. They only provide housing to those who are already in the process of recovery from addiction or who need a safe and secure environment.
The goal of both Harmony House and Serenity House is to provide services to those who need to further their drug and alcohol recovery or use transitional living in a supervised and structured atmosphere.
This is accomplished in part by providing an environment that is free of alcohol and other drugs and through case management services. The participants are required to perform certain household chores, attend 12-step meetings, be gainfully employed, pay program fees and become productive members of the community.
Potential residents must also adhere to an 11 p.m. curfew unless they work at night.
Those eligible to live in the homes can be referred by the Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma County Adult Probation, the Yuma Police Department, churches and other local or state agencies.
“They need to meet the program criteria,” Garlit said. “They need to have that need and be lower income to live here.”
Both facilities currently have openings. Potential residents must first complete a written application and meet with mission personnel, who will make decisions on a case-by-case basis.
“They will fill out an application that we will look through and then we will talk to them,” Baro said.
Residents must pay $300 a month, which is used to provide food, utilities, a bedroom and associated programs.
To inquire about becoming a resident, call 783-9362, Ext. 14 or Ext. 55.
The Arizona Department of Commerce and Department of Economic Security, and the city of Yuma provide ongoing financial support for the transitional homes. But additional donations are needed from the public to pay for high summer utility bills and for much-needed renovations to the old buildings, Garlit said.
“They can designate the fund to support them. We have the program fees at both houses so they can sustain themselves. But in the summertime, because of the APS bills, that creates a little stretch on our budget.”
For more information about the transitional living facilities, visit www.crossroadsmission.org.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6849.