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To provide affordable supportive housing to homeless women who have a mental health diagnosis. To move them from a state of homelessness, adversity and needing support services to a state of recovery, productive functioning in the community and being able to mentor women with similar backgrounds.
The Institute of Urban Living, Inc. is a community nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization with a history of working in underprivileged communities. IUL was founded in 1985 by Dr. Judy Ann Fisher, a DC resident, born and raised in the Barry Farm Community and Dr. Edward Fisher, a Family Practitioner and Surgeon. For over twenty years, Dr. Fisher has addressed the medical needs of residents drawn from Wards 5,6,7 & 8 in the capacity of physician. IUL was established in Ward 7 in the early 80s to address issues relating to adolescent pregnancies, premarital sex, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies among women in the minority community. The mission of the agency is "to strengthen the family unit and broaden its economic, personal and spiritual horizons through innovative programs. To challenge individuals to move above and beyond their environment and personal circumstance and prepare themselves for life-long self-sufficiency". Over the past twenty-six years, IUL has offered this geographic community mental health and social services in addition to other programs. We have provided families intensive case-management including referrals and follow-up outreach services. Our staff works closely with Community Service Agencies (CSA) to ensure our clientele receive wrap-around services and take full advantage of available resources. Our Youth Enrichment Services (YES) was designed by Dr. Fisher and she has largely spearheaded a movement that travels and presents to target groups around issues of personal self-development, socio-ethical behavior, and abstinence. She has presented to low-income minority adolescents, community churches, teachers, counselors, and community leaders. Her work with YES resulted in collaboration with the D.C. Public School system under a Center for Disease Control (CDC) grant. This HIV/AIDS grant allowed the agency to design programs on sexuality and disease prevention for teachers and other faculty representatives. IUL has also developed and presented educational tools for the AIDS Education Initiative, which was promoted at the National African American Youth Project of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association, the Black Family Symposium sponsored by the P. G. County Chapter of the Links, Inc., within the DC Public School System, and other venues across the District of Columbia. Project "Hang Tough" reaches out to homeless women who have a mental health diagnoses. Our referrals come through community outreach staff, area churches, individuals and civic agencies. We collaborate closely with CSA regarding follow-up services to these clients. We provide referral services, social services and therapeutic services. It was out of this program that the Board of Directors decided to provide affordable housing for this special needs population and created Hyacinth’s Place for which this grant application is intended. The number of unduplicated individuals served during the last fiscal year by all of IUL programs is six hundred and fifty three (653). The agencies most notable accomplishment over the past five years, was the acquisition of $M3.3 from the District of Columbia government and private foundations to fund a home for women with a mental health diagnoses who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. IUL was successful in obtaining $350,000 from the DC Housing and Finance Agency to purchase a parcel of land at 1058-1060 Bladensburg road NE and $215,000 from the Cornerstone foundation for predevelopment phase of this project. The DC Housing and Community Development granted $1,753,652 for construction and the DC Department of Mental health made a grant of $690,000 towards construction. The DC Housing Authority granted $350,000 towards construction, and $350,000 in Rental subsidies. The acquisition of these funds has resulted in a newly constructed four story building with 15 efficiency apartments, common living rooms, common kitchen and dining room as well as laundry rooms. The building is complete with large picture windows, and enough outdoor space for a healing rock garden.