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Founder Dedicates House for Mental Health Partnership



INDIANAPOLIS, July 15-Habitat for Humanity International co-founder Linda Fuller will be in Indianapolis on July 20 to build alongside Habitat homeowner Laurie Alexander and volunteers as part of “A Partnership to Open Doors”, a national mental health partnership teaming advocate agencies, professionals and consumers.

Fuller will be the keynote speaker at the second pilot partnership house dedication for “A Partnership To Open Doors,” the unique new alliance formed by three of the nation’s leading human services organizations. The Greater Indianapolis Habitat for Humanity affiliate is hosting the build. The dedication is scheduled for 10 a.m. at 1842 Carpenter Circle, where volunteers, including mental health professionals and consumers, will gather to celebrate the Alexander family’s new Habitat house.

“The vision for this partnership is to provide affordable homeownership for families impacted by mental illness throughout the nation, one house at a time,” said Fuller.

“A Partnership to Open Doors” is a joint effort between Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) to bring attention to the needs of families suffering with mental illness by building or renovating Habitat houses while giving support to family members who are mental health consumers.

Mental Health reports show that mental illness affects one family out of five in the United States and more than one million people with disabilities, including those with mental illness have a critical housing need. Stigmatization is still widely associated with mental illness and can prevent many from seeking treatment. Studies also indicate that safe, stable housing is a cornerstone of successful community living for people with a mental illness.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter is honorary chair of the 20-member Partnership To Open Doors Steering Council. Carter and the council members give ideas and direction to the mental health partnership efforts. This Fall, Carter will dedicate a Habitat for Humanity home for an Atlanta, Ga. family impact by mental illness. “For more than two decades, I have worked to improve the quality of life for people suffering from mental illnesses. And for the last sixteen years, Jimmy and I have been building homes with Habitat for Humanity International. Now these two great causes are coming together in an exciting new partnership between Habitat for Humanity International, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the National Mental Health Association. Because of Habitat for Humanity International’s great success in constructing thousands of homes for low income families, we are now poised to decrease the stigma associated with mental illness as we increase the opportunities of homeownership for such families disabled by mental illnesses.”

Adopt-a-Home sponsors for the Indianapolis Partnership house are Eli Lilly and Company Neuroscience Division and MegaSys, Inc. Shiel Sexton Company is donating general contractor expertise. The Marion County Mental Health Association and Alliance for the Mentally Ill Indianapolis have been involved in planning and recruiting local volunteers for A Partnership To Open Doors and will provide support and education for the partner family.

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental disabilities. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide, NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research and service.

Founded in 1979, the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated solely to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses. NAMI engages in support, education, research and advocacy at the local, state and national levels. It represents a tradition of self-help while working for increased funding for scientific research, evidence-based standards, equitable insurance practices, and greater access to treatment, employment and housing opportunities.

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,500 communities in 83 nations have built and sold more than 120,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. For more information about Habitat for Humanity International and to download photographs of “Partnership to Open Doors”, log on to