February 27, 2004

Appproximately Half of Homeless are Mentally Ill

Nearly half of state's homeless are mentally ill, survey finds (Associated Press)

The number of people who are homeless in Minnesota and who suffer from mental illness has more than doubled since 1994, according to a report released today.

The mentally ill now make up about 47 percent of the state's homeless adults, according to the Wilder Research Center survey."

The survey found that the homeless are increasingly vulnerable and harder to serve, requiring not just more affordable housing but intensive help staying housed. ... In 2003, homeless adults diagnosed with a mental illness totaled 47 percent, up sharply from 36 percent in 2000, 32 percent in 1997 and 20 percent in 1994.

The estimate of mentally ill homeless Minnesotans is higher than national studies indicate. A 2002 study from the U.S. Conference of Mayors put the number at 23 percent." Other studies we've seen suggest that the nationwide level average is that approximately 30% of people who are homeless have a mental illness (either schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or serious depression).

Posted by szadmin at February 27, 2004 10:25 PM

More Information on Schizophrenia, Poverty & Crime


Am interested in starting a group home for the mentally ill, that includes the homeless. Would like to find out to start raising funds for such a project. Housing is impossible to find for the severly mentally ill.

Posted by: kathleen droese at March 3, 2004 04:24 AM

Where are you located?

Posted by: Bette at August 17, 2005 10:10 PM

I would like to open a group home in texas

Posted by: Betty Caldwell at May 19, 2006 06:15 PM

I am a psychiatric nurse interested in opening a group home for the mentally ill in Louisiana. Any advice or suggestions on how to get started?

Posted by: susan at June 6, 2007 05:04 PM

I have been a psych nurse for over 5 years now, and have a family member with schizophrenia. I truly have compassion for the mentally ill, and it is my dream to house the mentally ill, not just house them, but give them a home. I'm in Texas, just need advice and help!!!

Posted by: joy at September 16, 2007 02:37 AM

I have worked in a group home and managed a group home for the mentally ill for several years now. I would like to start my own. I live in Minnesota and have no clue where to start. Any suggestions!!

Posted by: Kim at October 5, 2007 10:37 AM

I am looking for a group home in Texas for my son who has schizophrenia. Has anyone opened one or do you know of one?

Posted by: Diane at January 8, 2008 07:08 PM

Try Individual Care of Texas or ICT. This is a group home for the mentally ill. Velma is the administrator and she has been a godsend. Google it. They have a website. Good luck and god bless.

Posted by: Yvette at February 17, 2008 04:43 PM


ICT is AWFUL! Have you ever actually been there? I have- several times - and this is what I've seen: It's a cheap warehouse for discarded adults where everyone is completely neglected other than being medicated religiously (if you refuse to take your medication you get thrown out). Its actually the most effective start smoking program ever- just about everyone there is being trained to be addicted to cigarettes. Every hour on the hour just about every single person at ICT lines up in the hall in front of the medication/ cigarette closet to receive their hourly cigarette, and then they go out to a very small smoking area, have their smoke, and wait around for the hour to pass until the next cigarette. I am not kidding- that is the only stimulation, the only thing to do all day, and so that is what pretty much everyone does. The med/cigarette closet is the center of the ICT universe- the few activities that do exist are lame and poorly attended. My relative arrived there having never smoked cigarettes before, and now will not even consider going to a better program unless it allows smoking.

The staff there make absolutely no attempt to connect with, relate to, get to know, understand or improve the lives of the patients, and there is absolutely NOTHING to do. Everyone there is going stir crazy with inactivity, lack of stimulation and greasy, awful food.

When you drive up the building looks impossibly small for 100 people and it looks exactly like a warehouse. There are 100 patients and only about 3 staff on duty at any given time (less at night)all packed into a very small building in the middle of nowhere. The staff appear mostly obsessed with rule enforcement- trying to prevent the patients from sharing cigarettes or bartering them, making sure they do not step off the cement area on the front and back porches (don't touch the grass!), and hounding people for the smallest infraction. I saw certain patients being singled out and being put down, talked down to and micromanaged by the staff. It was ugly.

The bedrooms I saw were much smaller than the one pictured on the ICT website, maybe 8 x 10 feet, dark, dirty and depressing, with two beds ,a dresser and a TV packed in and barely enough room to stand. All the bedrooms I looked in reeked of old unwashed bodies, even if no old unwashed people lived in there. The lack of common spaces was really shocking- other than the hall and the dining room the only other common area was a miniscule TV room that seats about 10. There is such a lack of places to go that the hall which runs the length of the warehouse is packed with people all the time. There is no place to go, and no way to get fresh air or exercise.

There is no effort made to rehabilitate anyone, and from the number of people who threw themselves at me - wanting to shake my hand/ talk to me/ hug me / followed me around - it seemed that the patients were pathetically desperate for human contact and attention. There is something tragic, dehumanizing and desperate about the place- unless you're getting the "we care so much" sales job in the Velma's posh office (Velma is the owner/administrator of ICT).

I suppose if you have a totally compliant person you don't want to deal with, who has given up wanting a life (or you've given up on them) and you want a cheap place to dump them, then ICT may well be a "godsend" for you.

I truly believe that the vast majority of so called "normal" people would go nuts if they had to live at ICT for more than a few days. The people who dump their so-called "loved ones" there should be made to live there with them for a week and see if they can stand it.

Posted by: Jessica at May 13, 2008 08:56 PM

So if ICT is that bad is there any place else. My son also has schizophrenia. I'm not looking to lock him away just some where safe for him.
thanks for any help

Posted by: Linda at June 1, 2008 03:56 PM

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