10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the name “Karis” mean?
Karis is a Greek word meaningĀ grace, and it aptly describes our organization, because Karis is a place where adults working to manage illnesses such as major depression and bipolar mood disorder are received, nurtured, challenged, and launched.

2. Is Karis a “halfway house?”
The term “halfway house” is to residential alternatives as “generic” is to the retail market. It gives an idea of what the product is, yet leaves much to the imagination about specifics. Residential alternatives are best understood in terms of a continuum: At one end, there are institutional/hospital environments; at the other end, there is living independently in the community at large. Between those two extremes are several alternatives with varying degrees of structure (rules, expectations, and social norms) and supervision (staffing). Karis is close to independent living on this continuum. It is a non-clinical, minimally-supervised living arrangement. The intention of a “halfway house” has been to create a way for individuals, in more restrictive living (hospitals – lots of rules and staff) to make a graduated adjustment to being self-sufficient (independent). Karis does this….and more.

3. How old is the Karis program?
Karis was opened under the name of the Shalom Community in 1976 for the purpose of supporting people in transition. In 1978, Swanee Hunt and Mark Meeks assumed the administration of Shalom, changed the name to Karis Community, and shifted the focus to mental health. .

4. Whom do you serve?
Karis is open to adults 21 and older who suffer symptoms of severe and persistent mental illness, and could benefit from a transitional-living program. Most residents are in their 20s and 30s, and typically range in age from 21 to 50.

5. Where do you get your clients?
Most of our applicants are referred by mental-health centers, hospitals, physicians, and therapists. In addition, applicants are referred by family and friends, and they may call us directly. There are no geographical restrictions.

6. Do you provide therapy to your residents?
Karis is a non-clinical setting, meaning that we do not provide primary therapy. Residents are expected to be engaged in a clinical/therapy relationship (as many will require clinical assistance beyond their stay at Karis). This relationship provides the framework for interpersonal development and awareness about the implications of their mental illness. What makes Karis therapeutic, or healing, is that the community is comprised of individuals who have 1) a shared purpose (autonomy), 2) a sense of identity as a group (ownership), 3) relating values (wellness, productivity, openness to feedback), 4) commonality of experience (struggle with mental illness), and 5) commitment (helping each other, as well as themselves).

7. How big is your program?
The Karis Community has 15 bedrooms and 18 beds. Karis serves approximately 50 individuals each year with an average length of stay of 15 months.

8. How much does your program cost?
The cost to residents for a single room is $618.00/month and for a shared room $503.00/month. These fees include six evening meals, social and recreational activities, support groups, goal planning, and 24-hour staff availability. We are unable to accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers.

9. Where do you get your financial support?
Residential fees provide less than 25% of our income. The balance is raised through fundraising activities, individual donations, and foundation and corporate support.

10. Do you receive government support?
On occasion, Karis has received an Emergency Shelter Grant to help supplement food, utilities, and community supplies.