New Lease on Life for Vacant Building and Those Helped by Program Housed There

January 20th, 2011
Gwyne Coles, founder and director of IS-Care, inside the Rademacher Lodge

For nearly two years, the Rademacher Lodge building in southwest Detroit stood vacant, waiting for the right tenant. One who would appreciate its mixture of residential and office space. That tenant has now settled in, and feels perfectly at home.

IS-Care moved into the building last year, and its services harmonize with the space. The program provides transitional housing and prepares its consumers for independent living by teaching important life skills.

“When I was first shown Rademacher Lodge, I saw that it had potential to not only expand our program, but to also enhance it,” says Gwyne Coles, founder and director of IS-Care. “This building is conducive to our consumer’s wellbeing and recovery.”

Southwest Solutions, which owns the building, worked with IS-Care to update the space to meet the program’s needs. The Lodge has 15 single-person apartment units, a skills building center, a spacious kitchen and dining area, corporate and staff offices, sitting areas, and other rooms. The environment is bright, colorful and very clean. Consumers share chores and a sense of camaraderie in creating a home and learning together. They also have the opportunity for privacy in their own rooms.

Currently, eight consumers are staying at the Lodge. Gywne expects to reach full capacity of 15 in the near future, thus stabilizing the program’s finances.

“One of the great things about working with Southwest Solutions is that it understands the mental health system and the complex reimbursement process,” Gwyne says. “That takes a lot of the stress off of me as we get this part of our program fully up and running.”

Before last year, IS-Care was based at a building on Grand Boulevard in Midtown. IS-Care now devotes that facility to serving youth who’ve aged out of systems of care, including foster care. IS-Care’s emphasis at the Lodge is on adults.

Consumers at the Lodge are referred to the program through the Neighborhood Service Organization Placement Unit. Many had been in Adult Foster Care (AFC) homes or psychiatric hospitals, and all receive mental health services through counseling agencies. Consumers stay in the IS-Care program from 6 to 18 months. They learn skills related to social interaction, goal setting, nutrition, meal planning and preparation, medication use, money management, laundry, and shopping. They also learn confidence to live on their own.

Four of the current eight residents at the Lodge receive counseling at Southwest Solutions. Nick McCoy is one. He is 19 years old.

Nick says that he had a troubled youth, spending time in juvenile detention and foster care. At IS-Care, Nick has begun to find his rhythm in the structure of the program. He has taken the skills-building classes to heart and has set goals that he is striving to achieve. He enjoys cooking for others in the kitchen, and is delighted that his lodge mates enjoy the food he prepares. Nick also appreciates his privacy, and retreats to his room to reflect on his life and work on his illustrations and music.

“I hope to get my own apartment in the spring or summer,” Nick says. “I want to find a job to help support myself and I also want to continue my art.”

The Rademacher Lodge was built in 1992 through HUD funding. It was intended as a place to provide housing and support services to help adults recover from mental illness. Now, with IS-Care occupying the space, the Lodge is fulfilling its mission.

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