Compass House expanding in Medford

Medford., Ore. — A local organization aimed at helping people with disabilities and mental illness is working to expand in Medford.

“I’ve been walking past this place for like eons… I never knew it was here,” Compass House member John Ardry said.

John Ardry has been a member of Compass House since April of last year.

“It’s changed my life,” Ardry said.

Before Compass House, he says it was hard to get out of bed most days.

But now, with the help of the organization, he says he’s finding who he wants to be.

“I work on the computer. I’ve never worked on a computer my whole life. This is all new to me and it’s showing me I can do it,” Ardry said.

Ardry is just one of nearly 600 members who have become a part of Compass House.

Executive Director Elizabeth Hazlewood says the organization works with adults who are living with mental illness, handling what comes after case managers, therapists and psychiatrists.

“If you haven’t left your home, sometimes it’s really hard to go into the community and feel comfortable. So this is a safe place where people can come and be themselves,” Executive Director Elizabeth Hazlewood said.

Some people go for help in housing, or to get reintegrated into the workforce.

Others are trying to further their education and most are working on their social skills.

“I have a whole network of friends!” Ardry said.

Representing an environment where everyone can be equal, Hazlewood says Compass House has become so popular, the facility is now bursting at the seams.

“We are now having to eat lunch in shifts because our dining room sits 17. And our average daily attendance is 34,” Hazlewood said.

Since the organization is growing with its members, it’s purchased a much larger building across the street.

That’s set to be a permanent home for compass house by summer of 2019.

A home… Ardry is really looking forward to.

“Everybody comes together and makes one unique kind of family,” Ardry said.

All that’s left is renovation on the building.

In the meantime, Hazlewood says they’re hoping for support from the community.

“The reality is that one in four people live with a mental illness, and everyone should know what Compass House is, because you never know when these services will be needed to help your loved one,” Hazlewood said.

You can get a sneak peak of the new Compass House facility.

An open house is scheduled for this Friday, February 23rd, from 6 to 9 in the evening.

Local restaurants, wineries and breweries will be there.

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