Ciara Independent House’s Longest Resident

Originally founded in 1893, he Ciara House program provides the chronically homeless and mentally ill with safe, stable housing. The Ciara Independent Living program provides stable, safe and stigma-free housing to the chronically homeless and mentally ill, giving them a sense of community and a path to self-sufficiency.  Residents pay a modest rent, provide their own meals, and are able to live a relatively independent life.

One of Ciara Houses’ longest clients, Melissa, has been with Ciara since 2013.  Prior to moving to Ciara, Melissa was living in Alexandria with her elderly mother.  In Alexandria, she only had access to a few doctors and the resources that she needed.  A local priest suggested that she move to New Orleans for Ciara House and the resources she needed. 

Since being at Ciara, Melissa has loved working with Program Director and case manager, Brittany Simmons.  “Brittany has been here for four years….she takes me places, doctor’s visits, appointments, a sleep study and shopping. She goes out of her way to help people” She does special things for people.  She is very supportive of things. Brittany does everything for us!”

March 2021, Ciara Independent House, Melissa

Brittany spoke about working with Melissa, “It has been a pleasure to walk along side and support her….I have seen a lot of growth in her.  We’re here to help navigate healthcare system and day to day living skills.”

Because of the pandemic, the support groups that Ciara provides for residents had to stop.  They are hoping it will resume, in conjunction with Counseling Solutions, once residents get vaccinated. This month the biggest goal for Ciara House is to make sure every resident get vaccinated!    

The Case Management services that Ciara provides includes, budgeting; job preparation; applying for disability; applying for food stamps; managing transportation; securing medical assistance; building healthy coping skills; assisting with independent living skills; identifying and assisting with new support systems that would benefit client; navigating health care system and medication management.