The Sun News

NAMI of Central Georgia needs funds to stay open

NAMI of Central Georgia needs your help.

A series of events have put the group home for the mentally challenged in danger of closing.

Kara Dover-Spuhler is the administrative director of the New Hope Center, which is operated by the Middle Georgia branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI Central Georgia has served the community as a mental health advocate and educational resource since 1986.

“It has been ongoing for several years. When the economy took a downturn in 2012, we lost a lot of major funding sources. Also, other agencies that donated to us took hits, so that cutback on what they could give us,” Spuhler said.

Residents contribute to the costs of operations, but that isn’t enough to fund the center. Spuhler said New Hope has been compensating with funds out of their contingency fund.

But that money will be all gone by the end of August.

Donations are needed to help the center stay open while Spuhler and the NAMI staff work on grants and fundraisings.

“The problem with grants is most of them are specific to something and don’t cover operating costs,” said Spuhler.

If residents lose their housing, a few of them would be able to live with family, but the majority would end up institutionalized, Spuhler said.

“In a hospital type setting, you are treated like a patient. We treat them like residents in what they call their home,” said Spuhler. “We encourage our residents to be as independent as possible, to enhance their well-being and their quality of life.”

The center offers not only residency but also life skills training.

While the Columbus-area NAMI offers a day program, Sphuler said the Warner Robins affiliate was the only one in the state offering resident care.

Along with that resident care, the New Hope Center offers support groups for mental illnesses such as bipolar conditions, opportunities for internships and a place for community service.

The organization is accepting private donations as it looks for sponsors who will sustain them long term.

For more information or to find out how you can help, contact NAMI at 478-328-0508.