Ozark Center $1.5 million HUD grant

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - Ozark Center $1.5 million HUD grant

JOPLIN, Mo.—Congressman Roy Blunt announced that Ozark Center will receive a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide housing for people with mental illness and disabilities.

"These facilities will provide the professional support services necessary to allow their residents the opportunity to live a more independent lifestyle," Blunt said. "I'm glad the Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized the need for these services in Joplin."

Ozark Center, a division of Freeman Health System, will use the grant to construct Poplar Place, an apartment building with 14 one-bedroom units for adults with chronic mental illnesses. The complex will employ a full-time resident manager and include a community room for on-site training, education, and community meetings.

"There is a great need to serve people with disabilities and mental illness who often have limited incomes and have trouble holding a job," said Paula Baker, Freeman Health System Senior Vice President of Clinical Administration and Ozark Center CEO. "This program will give them safe, affordable housing in a setting designed to maximize their efforts at employment and independent living."

Ozark Center anticipates opening the facility in early 2010.

HUD's 811 grant program allows people with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community by increasing the supply of rental housing and the availability of supportive services.

About Freeman Health System

Not-for-profit, community-owned, and locally governed, Freeman Health System is a 404-bed, three-hospital system. Based in Joplin, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Missouri, Freeman provides comprehensive healthcare and behavioral health services to an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

For media inquiries, please contact Freeman Media Coordinator.