Group homes for the mentally ill: pt. 3

Medford, Ore. —  Rhyan Baines knows housing hardships all too well.  Suffering from a disease that has impacted his mental health, he’s had to seek housing help for years.  But now in a new apartment, Rhyan’s also got a new attitude.

“Here it is, my room.  Here’s my bed.  We made the whole thing out of pallets,” says Baines, as he shows off his do-it-yourself projects in his apartment.

It’s the first time he has been proud of where he has called home and while his Grants Pass apartment is small and simple, for Baines its been a big step in the right direction, both for his living situation and his outlook.

“Pretty happy,” says Baines.

Since childhood, baines has suffered from tumors.  “They did a biopsy but they couldn’t remove it,” he explains.

While the tumors did shrink from treatment, he says their location has impaired his mental ability.

“There is one behind my eye and one in my head,” says Baines.

Since he was eighteen years old, Baines has sought the help of adult foster homes for extra living assistance., but it wasn’t always a good experience.

“All the time I was acting up and I would always get in trouble.  They would call the cops on me and I would get taken away, because they couldn’t keep control of me.  Then I came to PCL.”

The staff at Partnerships in Community Living First met Baines about six years ago.

“When I first came to PCL, I was physical a lot,” Baines admits.

Requiring specific attention meant he had to live with other PCL clients in one of their group residences, but with time and support Baines found his way.

“Rhyan did the work, but he had people helping him along the way,” says Joanne Fuhrman of PCL.

“They helped me a lot because they taught me to be a nice and responsible person,” Baines says.  “Yeah I’m a different guy now.”

In his new apartment without roommates, Baines still has one PCL staff member with him 24-hours a day, but it’s still the most independent he’s ever been and that’s spilling over to other parts of his life.

“I have a job now.  It’s very exciting yeah.”

Besides pride in his accomplishments, PCL has also helped give Baines something to look forward to as he reaches towards his goal which is to, “Live completely on my own,” Baines explains.

Until then though, it’s easy to tell just how at home Baines finally feels.

PCL staff that have worked with Baines over the years say it’s been incredible to witness his transformation.

For more information on mental illness, group homes, and local resources, check out the links below.

Partnerships in Community Living:

Jackson County Mental Health:

Jackson County Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 541-774-8201

Compass House, Medford:

Oregon Health Authority:

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