NPI was established in 1988 with a mission of ending homelessness for people with mental illness. It is one of the first organizations of this kind that focuses and combines both issues in order to offer a better approach.
They believe that housing assistance and peer support reduce hospitalizations for psychiatric reasons and diminish the risk of homelessness, while at the same time promotes recovery.
Five hundred and fifty apartment homes all over Lucas County and also one in Tiffin and one in Fostoria, Ohio are part of the program.
During the event, two local “alums” from the NPI program gave testimony:
• John Gilmer, who at one point his life was limited to drugs, incarcerations, and rehab, said he was “out there in the madness” but “NPI gave me stability, structure, and accountability.” Sober since 2009, he is a student at Owens Community College.
• Michelle Moore, who in the past was going through the ups and downs of mental health, addiction, and bad relationships, said: “NPI was there for me when I needed help and had nowhere to go.” At the present time, she works at Second Chance, providing comprehensive services to victims of sex trafficking and prostitution. She approaches the participants of her program in a very caring and respectful manner, because she understands “her girls.”
The keynote speaker for the event was Jennifer Holliday, the Tony Award-winning star of Dreamgirls. Ms. Holliday landed her first Broadway role in Your Arms too Short to Box with God, and at 30 years old was acclaimed for her performance as Effie in the first run of Dreamgirls; she was highly acclaimed by her interpretation of: “And I am Telling you I’m not going.”
Ms. Holliday is a strong advocate for mental illness. She travels nationally and internationally, bringing her testimony and sharing her personal experience. And as she stated on stage, “I live with depression, so I know; “I couldn’t function beyond the stage,” she added.
She delivered her message in her own unique style, between humor and strong affirmative words, combined with her beautiful singing.
The event was concluded by Mr. John Hoover, Executive Director of NPI.