Mental Health Care Program Hopes To Expand

The need for more mental health care programs in Nebraska has often been a hot topic for discussion among state leaders. The talk has turned to action for a new Omaha nonprofit.

Homelessness has been and continues to be a serious problem in the metro. Experts say that around 45 percent of that population deals with some sort of mental illness.

The Kelly House is a safe place for adults over 19 years old who are learning to cope with mental illness. As long as residents commit to their treatment they have a place to live and a bed to sleep in.

Michael Hanson, the executive director of Edward and Willa Community Collaborative, says it's the care the staff gives that makes a difference. "The real biggest things we provide is our live-in staff. We really focus on relationship and build a relationship with people that typically are having trouble establishing new relationships.”

It's care like that helping to keep Charles Martis on the right track to improvement. "They help me quite a bit.”

Since the Kelly House opened last April with 14 beds it's been a popular referral for men. However, the organization wants to offer space for women, too. They have a few other houses they're getting ready, but need some help. "It kind of speaks to the need for beds," said Hanson. "We've got a headboard, but no bed.”

To fill the void, the nonprofit is asking for help collecting 20 bed sets and other furniture. “The impact is just huge in terms of what it means to an individual.” For information on how to help, visit

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