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Chamber Member Profile: Keystone House

September 27, 2018

About 10 million adults in the U.S. (4.2%) experience a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with or limits major life activities.[1] Keystone House in Norwalk has a mission to help those in our area with psychiatric disabilities with housing, rehabilitation services and support.

Keystone House was founded in 1972 as a true community effort when staff of Norwalk Hospital and other community members saw a need for more support to those with psychiatric disorders. Today, Keystone House provides both housing and 24-hour support in three homes, as well as assistance with selecting, obtaining and maintaining housing for those living on their own. “People come and live in our homes anywhere from 6 months to a year, to several years,” says Executive Director Valerie Williams. “One of our homes is for long-term residents, some of whom have lived there for eight plus years.”

Another important effort of Keystone House entails a variety of social rehabilitation programs for those who are not residents, including skill-building workshops, employment support, an arts program, as well as support programs such as liaising with medical providers, transportation and medication management support. “During days, weekends, evenings, we provide a lifeline for many people who can come in and touch base with staff, get a variety of assistance and simply be part of a larger community,” says Williams.

Overall, Keystone House provides services to about 200 people a year, mainly from Norwalk and surrounding towns. The CT Department of Mental Health refers some clients; others are referred by mental health professionals or family members.

“Our staff provides care and support for people so their families can just be families, without the difficulties and stresses of the day-to-day,” says Williams. “It’s very rewarding for us to really help people and see them grow here.”

While there are fees, and funding from the state, Keystone House relies on the generosity of private donors – foundations, individuals and businesses – to support its many activities as well as general maintenance and upkeep. Corporate funding provides about 25% of their support. Businesses can help in a variety of ways via donations, help with fundraising efforts and volunteering. One of the organization’s largest fundraising efforts for which companies can donate or attend is their annual Gala. The next one is scheduled for April 6 next year.

If your company would like more information or to get involved with Keystone House, visit keystonehouseorg or call Development Officer Kim Carter at (203) 855-7920.

[1] National Institutes of Mental Health, 2016