Information for Referring Agencies

Karis Community is a transitional group residential facility offering a unique, supportive living opportunity for eighteen people who are recovering from mental illness. The Empowerment Program provides a safe, supportive, and minimally restrictive environment in which residents are encouraged to pursue positive growth and personal change.

Karis is a therapeutic community that uses a democratic group process to empower residents to take an active role in their recovery from mental illness. As the centerpiece of this process, Community Members are encouraged to set realistic therapeutic, vocational, residential, and social goals. They are supported and assisted by staff and other Community Members in working to meet these goals. The Empowerment Program emphasizes the processes of open communication, cooperation, feedback, individual responsibility, and self-awareness to stimulate autonomy and healthy interdependence and to improve the quality of each person’s life through personal and Community growth.

All interested applicants must go through an interview process to become members of Karis Community. The first step in this process involves an interview with either the Executive Director or the Program Manager. In this interview, the expectations of the Karis Community are described and applicants are asked to share information about their own experiences, aspirations, and goals. If the applicant’s goals, abilities, and expectations are compatible with those of the other members of the community, the applicant is invited to dinner with the residents. This provides an opportunity for the Community Members to meet and interview the applicant, and for the applicant to socialize with and ask questions of the Community. Following the dinner interview, the Community Members meet to share their impressions with each other and decide whether or not to invite the applicant to join. If invited to become a Community Member, an applicant must undergo a one-month period of probationary residence, during which time he or she interacts with and is observed by the other Community Members. At the end of the probationary period, the Community Members again review the applicant’s status during a weekly Community Meeting, and a vote is taken to determine if the applicant should become a permanent member of the Community.

Once accepted at Karis, Community Members are expected to set realistic wellness goals and to strive to meet them. Each person’s length of stay is determined by his or her ability to promote positive interactions, and willingness to work toward meeting wellness goals.

The minimum age for Karis Community is 21; the average age is 36. Community Members must have a diagnosed mental illness, and those who struggle with dual diagnoses must receive support for their substance abuse issues. Community Members must be able to take their own medications as prescribed, pay their rent in a timely manner, maintain their own physical safety, attend therapy, and be involved in meaningful daily activities such as working, volunteering, attending school, or attending day treatment. Community Members support one another by cooking dinners, performing chores, and attending at least three dinners each week. In addition, they must attend one support group per week, participate in bi-monthly goal groups, and attend dinners and Community meetings each Thursday evening. Alcohol and illicit substances are not permitted on the premises and intoxication is not allowed.

Karis Community provides three support groups each week, a Community Coordinator who lives on site, and continuous staff accessibility by pager, in the event of a crisis. Community Members coordinate their own schedules and activities, and there are no curfews. Frequent group activities, such as trips, sporting events, and social and cultural activities, are planned for entertainment.

The values at Karis Community reinforce an atmosphere of respect, caring, and the assumption of personal responsibility. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or referrals.