KANSAS CITY, Mo. — David Berg lived in the woods for four-and-a-half years before finding a safe haven at L. Minor Care Center.
“They understand that a mental disability is a disability," Berg said of City Union Mission's ministry. "It’s not something you can just suck up and work your way around, and it’s just as real as a physical disability or obstacle.”
Berg is among the men who have received assistance from the center, which Facility Administrator Amanda Greene said provides a safe place to recover for the homeless population living with mental health illnesses.
“We provide a safe, secure environment for men that are challenged with mental illness, physical disabilities, or both," Greene said. "Or challenge with vulnerabilities that come, because they’re over 70 or younger than 24. We help connect them to resources, and connections throughout the city with the goal of a viable, secure level of independence."
For three years, L. Minor Care Center has offered counseling, access to health care and individualized case management for dozens of men.
Berg, a previous resident at the center, said he was often his own barrier. Living with anxiety, depression and autism became harder after losing his job in 2010. But he said he feels understood at the center.
L. Minor Care Center leadership saw the need for the mental health services more than a decade ago, Greene said. One in four people experiencing homelessness live with mental health illnesses, according to Greene, and obtaining access to resources and care can be difficult. This leads to self-medication, which can become a vicious cycle.
Staff at City Union Mission said the people they serve are often told, “No.” It is their mission to be their “Yes.”