Thousands of people living in state psychiatric hospitals are discharged in a process known as deinstitutionalization.
Dr. Hilary Sandall and Mildred Dunn, R.N., both on the staff of St. Louis State Hospital, placed the first three patients with persistent mental illness in an apartment on Davis Street in South St. Louis.
Places for People incorporates as the first independent living and Supported Housing program for people with serious mental illness in the state of Missouri and one of the select few in the country.
Places for People opens the Club in a donated storefront named Desiderata in South St. Louis. The Club was the first Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in the state of Missouri.
West Pine facility is converted into a state-licensed Residential Care Facility—the first psychiatric group home in the St. Louis area.
Places for People restructures its programs and services by moving to a Continuous Treatment Team approach, offering support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Community Alternatives forms as a limited liability corporation to address the needs of underserved populations that include young adults, people who are homeless and have a mental illness, people with a mental illness and HIV/AIDS, and people with both mental illness and substance abuse disorder.
PfP focuses on serving people who are homeless and are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.
PfP acquires and renovates an apartment building to provide emergency housing.
PfP adopts an integrated treatment approach to serve people diagnosed with both a severe mental illness and substance abuse disorder.
PfP opens CJ's Place, a facility that provides safe, securing housing with on-site support for people multiply diagnosed with a mental illness, addiction disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS.
Community Alternatives incorporates as a nonprofit.
Community Alternatives begins providing mental health services to refugees who are survivors of torture and war trauma.
Community Alternatives begins providing the Incredible Years program.
PfP purchases the property at 5235 Page Boulevard, with plans to renovate it into 23 units of supporting housing.
PfP partners with Family Care Health Center as a provider of primary care services.
Places for People and Community Alternatives merge, the first voluntary merger of mental health providers in Missouri.
The Places for People Board of Directors approves a new strategic plan.
Places for People (PfP) was created in 1972 as a grassroots organization responding to a clear and present need in the community—the need for housing and housing supports for people discharged from long-term institutionalization in state psychiatric hospitals. PfP was founded with very limited resources and with no clear path regarding program creation because the new agency was essentially a trail blazer in the field of community mental health and independent living for seriously disabled individuals. PfP's founders were staff of the State Hospital, and our programs and services were initially a direct response to policies and initiatives of the state.
PfP's programs and services evolved as we learned more about our clients' needs. We made a decision to become a "specialty organization"—to focus on the most disabled, to be able to adapt quickly to emerging needs, and to introduce new programs and best practices as clients' needs dictated. The programs we developed aligned with our overall goal: to provide people with the necessary support, skills, and resources to live, work, and socialize in environments of their own choosing. PfP developed then and maintains today a special focus on housing, considering safe and stable housing the first priority and, for most people, a necessary prerequisite to recovery.
While PfP's overall goals have remained essentially the same over the years, our client population has changed. When the agency was formed, all clients shared a background of being discharged following long years of continuous institutionalization. Over time, long-term institutionalization became less common, but homelessness, resulting from the disruption of support systems by symptoms of untreated illnesses, has become an all-too common experience. Likewise, complex, co-occurring medical and substance abuse disorders are becoming typical experiences for new clients.
Recognizing this shift, PfP developed its homeless outreach program, expanded its coordination of primary and behavioral health care, conducted a pilot program for the state's Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, and broadened its housing array to include emergency housing units and a special facility for people diagnosed with a major mental illness co-occurring with substance abuse disorders and/or HIV/AIDS (CJ's Place).
Places for People continues to grow and, as of January 1, 2011, merged with Community Alternatives (CA). CA was formed in 1995 in St. Louis as mental health agency with a focus of serving people who were not well served by mainstream providers. Motivating factors for the PfP's merger with CA included the planned retirement of PfP's Executive Director and the need to ensure sustainability in a future with many challenges to mental health services.
The challenges anticipated are both programmatic—preparing for health care reform and ensuring individualized, intensive, and comprehensive mental health services remain available for those who need them—and financial—adapting to the continued decrease in state funding for mental health services. Additionally, PfP has long recognized that there are other vulnerable populations who would benefit from our service model and experience. As we identified a logical partner in Community Alternatives worked toward the merger from 2009 through 2010, we adopted the slogan, "Stronger and Better Together," to represent how the new agency would meet future challenges while addressing a wide array of mental health needs.
Community Alternatives brings to the merged agency a mix of programs that will both support services already in place at PfP and address new populations. CA's unique, innovative programs include early interventions for families who have children with behavioral disorders and support for immigrants and refugees who are survivors of torture. The merged agency will not compromise services previously delivered by either agency; instead, the new agency will offer multiple programs and services to address wide-ranging and otherwise poorly served needs in the community.
The mission of the merged agency reflects our commitment to serve the most vulnerable people in our community: “Provide caring, effective services to help those with the greatest challenges recover from mental illness and associated chronic illnesses.” Our vision is to improve lives by partnering with our clients to identify and pursue individual goals, hopes, and dreams. We do this by providing appropriate treatment, supporting our clients' independence, and assisting clients on their self-identified paths to recovery.
Join the discussion about PfP's programs and events on our Facebook page.
Tweets by @PfPSTL
Places for People, Inc. 4130 Lindell BoulevardSt. Louis, MO 63108 Tel: 314.535.5600Get directions to our Recovery Center Campus