We have identified the capabilities needed to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of those mentally ill homeless who have made the commitment and taken that important first step of faith by entering Kelly House. Two gaps currently exist in providing much needed services to people in our community who suffer from the debilitating consequences of mental illness:
- Ongoing permanent and safe, supportive housing, such as that provided by the Kelly House, is in very short supply in Omaha. It is estimated that on any given day, there are 2,000 people in the Omaha area that are homeless. Of those people, it is estimated that 45% have exhibited one or more symptoms of mental illness during the previous year.
- Ongoing day-programming for adults, including men and women, who suffer from mental illness is in very short supply in Omaha. Though there are more opportunities for such programming available than there is for housing, issues such as proximity& lack of transportation, lack of knowledge about such programming, and/or capacity limitations of current programs, prevent those who could benefit from such services from receiving them.
In addition to its supportive housing program, Kelly House currently operates a state-approved adult day program, funded in part by the State of Nebraska Title 20 program, for qualified Kelly House residents. Due to limitations of the current program, we are unable to offer these services to nonresidents.
We are asking for your financial support and commitment to join the Kelly House family to fund the expansion of our Day Program to serve men who do not reside at Kelly House, as well as to women, who are not currently served in any capacity by our program. Adult Day Programs offer information and education to both men and women that helps them to learn and practice skills which, in turn, increases their capacity to effectively cope with their mental illness. Examples of such programming include individual and group counseling and therapy on a variety of mental and physical health issues, education and instruction about medication, life-skills education and development, as well as a variety of recreational and academic activities.
The Collaborative needs $75,000 to achieve the goals of our strategic plan for Kelly House, primarily to expand its Adult Day Program. $45,000 is needed in order to make the necessary exterior and interior upgrades to the building in order to create a state-approved adult day program that will be open to both Kelly House residents and nonresidents. We need an additional $30,000 for non-facility licensing compliance preparation, such as program materials development and ongoing staff training and education. This will more firmly establish Kelly House in the Omaha community as a credible provider of supportive housing and adult day programming to adults in Omaha who suffer from mental illness. It will also help us more firmly establish the Kelly House Program as the model for successful expansion into more facilities.
For further information about how you can help us financially or otherwise, please contact Michael Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-212-0780.
Thank you for your support of our program.
Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative, Inc., is a nonprofit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska. The organization was founded by family and friends of its namesakes, Edward and Willa Kelly. Ed (Kelly as he was affectionately known by family and friends) and Willa were tragically killed in a car collision in July 1988 while on their way to officially become foster parents in Washington State. They had met and married in Sitka, Alaska, just ten years before, where they had both lived since the late 1960s. In 1986, after Ed’s retirement from the Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company, Ed and Willa relocated to Key Center, located just west of Gig Harbor and across Puget Sound from Seattle.
One of Willa’s sons, Michael, relocated from Tempe, Arizona to Omaha with his wife, Carrie (a native Nebraskan from Lincoln) and newborn baby (Samantha) shortly after their deaths, in 1988.
Between 1988 and 2001, Michael and Carrie welcomed two more children, Zach and Heidi. Michael continued a career in human services while working in various capacities with youth and families at Boys Town, United Way, and All Our Kids, Inc., a youth mentoring and scholarship program affiliated with the National Mentoring Partnership (now known as Better Brighter Futures). He earned a Master of Public Administration degree, with an emphasis in Non Profit Management, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in 1992. Between 1996 and 2001, Michael was an Adjunct Professor for the Dept. of Public Administration at UNO and an independent strategic planning consultant for Omaha area organizations, including the Omaha Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Millard Education Foundation and the State of Nebraska Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
In 2001, with the generous support of family and friends from Gig Harbor, Sitka, and Omaha, the Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative, Inc. was founded in honor of Ed and Willa. Originally founded to offer assistance to youth, the organization later broadened its focus to provide affordable housing opportunities to low income families. Still later, that focus was narrowed to provide affordable housing opportunities to those most at risk for homelessness, including veterans, young adults exiting foster care, adults exiting the criminal justice system, and adults with mental illness. It was with that goal in mind that Kelly House, a supportive housing program for men aged 19 and older, was founded.
Since opening its doors in April of 2012, the 14-bed capacity Kelly House Supportive Housing Program has been home to approximately 150 men, providing guidance and support as they learn to cope with mental illness. In 2014, Kelly House was approved by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide Adult Day Care Services to its residents, as well as a limited number of non-residents. Generous contributions of time, money, and talent from the Omaha community and beyond have helped our program grow, improve and expand.
In 2018, Kelly House continues our mission, focusing on providing a home to the most vulnerable in our community. Please call or email if you would like to donate your time, money, or talent. We need you!
Every night there are an estimated 2,000 homeless people in Omaha. Why are so many people homeless?
Are these lazy people who don’t want to work? Are these irresponsible people who just can’t “buck it up” and “get their act together”? Are these people who have chosen a life of alcoholism and drug addiction? Or, is there a common link – something deeper – happening in the individual lives of those in the Omaha community called “the homeless”?
The research of the past twenty years is shedding light on this question. It is identifying a common thread in the lives of many of those we see living in the streets and in shelters: that common thread is mental illness. Further research into this problem is showing that alcoholism, drug addiction, broken relationships and homelessness are — in just under half of these people — symptoms of an underlying mental illness.
Within this population of homeless people are individuals who are beginning to recognize that they can no longer cope with their mental illness alone. They have suffered and caused suffering from repeatedly damaging relationships; they have picked themselves up, only to fall again; they have experienced periods of stability, stopped their medications and ended up on the streets again and again — they have tried everything in their own power, but to no avail.
After years of this roller coaster of a life, some of these individuals realize that the long climb up the mountain called recovery is a task they can’t accomplish on their own. They realize that they need much more help than they ever thought they would need, or have ever sought before. They realize they need to humbly submit to a partner and a process.
Without a process designed to meet their specific needs, these people are condemned to a vicious cycle of failed individual attempts at recovery resulting in their hope being dashed, a return to the streets, crime, drugs, alcohol, and victimization. The end result may be chronic homelessness, incarceration, and far too often, death from overdose, victims of crime, or suicide.
These individuals are ready for Kelly House and Kelly House is designed to partner with them. They are humbled and submitted, ready to partner with the people at Kelly House who care, who understand their personal mountains and who are equipped to support and share in their journey back to a life of dignity, purpose and hope.
Kelly House is located at 1720 N. 40th Street., in Omaha, NE and has been operated by Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative, Inc. since 2012. The facility is brick construction with 14 beds. It has common areas for community living, meals, and day programs. The two kitchens, 3 bathrooms and office space for administration and private counseling support the needs of the residents and staff.
Edward and Willa Kelly Community Collaborative (The Collaborative) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization overseen by a board of directors consisting of six members. The majority of the members are professionals from the Omaha community — one resides in the Washington DC area. The Executive Director, Michael Hanson, holds a Master of Public Administration degree, with an emphasis in Non- Profit Management. Michael has 25+ years of experience in human services, having worked at organizations such as Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home and the National Mentoring Partnership. As a private consultant, Michael has also assisted other organizations – such as Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross, The Millard Education Foundation and the State of Nebraska Office of Vocational Rehabilitation — with strategic planning & program development. He is the founder and has been Executive Director of The Collaborative since 2001.
The Board, in conjunction with our executive director, has developed a strategic vision and accompanying plan to improve upon the Kelly House’s existing supportive housing and adult day programs, increase our capacity to serve non residents with a state-approved, expanded version of our Adult Day Care Program, and strengthen the financial stability of Kelly House,. It is our hope that by achieving the goals of our strategic plan, The Collaborative can scale services with additional facilities to meet the needs of both men and women who are learning to cope with mental illness in the Omaha homeless community.
We have identified the capabilities needed to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of people who are suffering from mentally illness who have made the commitment and taken that important first step of faith by entering Kelly House. We are asking for your financial support and commitment to join the Kelly House family to fund the development of those capabilities thoroughly and reliably.
In addition to its residential program, Kelly House also receives limited funding from the State of Nebraska to provide day programming (adult day care services) to selected individuals who reside at Kelly House. In order to offer day programming to nonresidents of our program, we must make a number of building improvements and upgrades in order to meet Nebraska State licensing requirements. In addition, we need to develop program materials and train. educate, and/or hire staff in order to offer these services in a professional and sustainable fashion.
This in turn, accomplishes three things:
1) increases the limited number of options available to those in need of such programs;
2) provides added exposure (e.g. an informal marketing component) to our residential services; and
3) increases revenue to cover operating costs of Kelly House.
The Collaborative needs $75,000 to achieve the goals of our strategic plan for Kelly House. $45,000 is needed to make the necessary exterior and interior upgrades to the building in order to open our day program to nonresidents. Another $30,00 is needed to purchase and develop program materials, meet state licensing requirements and to provide adequate training and education to staff. This will establish Kelly House as a self-sufficient facility and as the model for successful expansion into more facilities.
We ask you to partner with us in meeting the need of the segment of Omaha’s homeless who are ready to manage their mental health, who can regain their dignity, who want purpose to their lives, and who are ready to begin contributing to rather than being a burden on society.