By: Noelle Lambert
December’s Charity of the Month is
Options for Community Living, Inc.
Options for Community Living, Inc. is a local not for profit organization whose mission is to assist individuals and families in need develop their fullest potential for independent living.
Options was formed in 1982 to respond to the need for supportive housing for people with serious mental illness. The Mental Health Residential Program grew rapidly, and in 1994 Options introduced case management services to Long Islanders living with HIV/AIDS. Soon after, a housing program for this population was started as well. More recently, Options has partnered with Long Island Health Homes to offer care coordination services to high need Medicaid users with chronic illnesses through the Access to Care Program. As of today, Options serves more than 1,800 adults and children annually through its programs and manages over 180 scattered housing sites across Nassau and Suffolk counties!
Options Mental Health Residential Programs provide supportive housing opportunities for Long Island residents recovering from serious mental illness under the auspices of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH). More than 140 residential properties provide eligible Nassau and Suffolk residents with safe, affordable housing and support services.
Options services are person-centered, collaborative and recovery-oriented. Care coordinators help to improve individual health by arranging medical care, doctor visits, participation in mental health treatment and substance use disorder services, pediatric health and specialty services for children, linkage to community groups and resources and more. Additionally, the agency offers Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to help individuals recovering from mental illness and/or addiction. These services are personalized and include skill building, peer support and development of family support, as well as pre-vocational and educational support.
Long Island has more AIDS cases than any other suburban community in the U.S. Options operates more than 50 scattered units of supportive housing for people living with HIV/AIDS and provides additional Ryan White funded case management services for this vulnerable population. Affordable housing linked to services – provides low-income, disabled and formerly homeless people with the help they need to stay housed and live more independent, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Headquartered in Smithtown, their agency also operates satellite offices in Hempstead and Amityville and a thrift shop located at 392 Hawkins Avenue in Lake Ronkonkoma.
The thrift shop is open Tuesday – Saturday and relies on donations and community volunteers. The shop can be contacted at (631) 676-4579 and is in need of volunteers to help with sorting, tagging, working the register and additional duties. Volunteers must be 18 or older.
Additionally, this organization takes donations of personal hygiene items (shampoo, hand soap, lotion and toothbrushes) and household cleaning necessities (laundry detergent and cleaners.)
Lastly, this organization is available to conduct presentations at schools or in the community regarding their programs and/or on matters pertaining to HIV/AIDS and mental illness.
If you wish to inquire about receiving help, want to volunteer/donate or are interested in getting more information on a presentation, please contact their Development Director, Denise Waterhouse, at DWaterhouse@OptionsCL.org.
Looking for assistance this holiday season?
Long Island Cares – www.LICares.org
Long Island Cares will have a mobile food pantry on site at the Connetquot Public Library, located at 760 Ocean Avenue in Bohemia on December 11th from 1:00PM-2:00PM. There is no identification of registration required to pick up your supply of food. For additional information, please call the library at (631) 567-5079 or visit their website at www.ConnetquotLibrary.org.
If you would like your organization to be featured in this column, please e-mail Noelle@SouthBaysNeighbor.com!