LAYTON - Those facing mental health issues are often among those who fall into the crack that is homelessness.
Davis Behavior Health (DBH) provides some facilities to help at least some of those in that category who are in need, said Brandon Hatch, executive director.
He admits the agency is only able to provide enough housing to help “a small portion.”
Over the years, the nonprofit agency has added housing options throughout the county. Of the 86 housing units, many are owned by the agency. Others are under a master lease from various landlords.
DBH has 20 beds of permanent housing. The vast majority of housing is considered transitional.
“That tends to be people who receive our services and have housing or homelessness issues, need a place to live,” Hatch said.
These people tend to be more of those considered chronically mentally ill. “They need a safe place to be. Otherwise they’d be homeless,” he said.
Overall, those served by the housing are people with substance abuse or mental health issues, or both.
“I think it does prevent homelessness,” Hatch said of DBH’s efforts. “Davis County has a pretty low homeless population. For our clients, it prevents a lot of hospitalizations. For us, that is a big piece that they’re not staying in the hospital as a place to stay.”
Rather, housing provides these people a place of their own, where they learn the responsibility of keeping it clean, of paying rent, he said.
“It’s called supportive housing,” Hatch said. That is, a case manager is provided who can work with individuals to assure units are kept clean, that those living there are taught how to clean, how to manage a budget, how to cook, the various life skills.
“They’re not just helping, they’re healing those folks,” said County Commissioner Louenda Downs. She co-chairs the county’s homelessness committee/task force with Mary Ann Nielson, homeless liaison with the Davis School District.
“They’re able to provide help for these people to put their lives back together. It’s really significant,” Downs said.
Hatch said the agency’s relationship with landlords is good. “We guarantee payment. They know their units will be rented, plus we work with our clients to make sure their places are kept clean and nice.”
In addition, DBH will fix any damage done to the units by a client.