Last week, I spoke with Chatham County resident Ken Howard. He told me he was at a loss: his 18-year-old son Jack, whose name – like his father’s – has been changed for privacy, was soon be released from his third stint at a psychiatric facility. The challenges Jack faces – depression, social anxiety and bipolar behavior – leave his family feeling unsafe allowing him in their home. So, Howard has embarked on a intensive one-man research project to help his son: he estimates that he’s called 50 local resources looking for group homes, and he sent me some meticulous notes of his contacts.
His list includes phone numbers for health insurance attorneys, faith-based housing resources, at least one outpatient facility. But it was strikeout after strikeout:
“Wait of weeks or months.”
“Left message, have not heard back.”
“Never returned calls or emails”
Hopeway Residential Mental Health Service, a Charlotte-based group home in Howard’s notes, had a price tag that took my breath away: an “upfront cost base” of $26,000 for a 30 day stay in the facility. Howard’s goal seems straightforward.