Freeman News

Ozark Center Housing Program Receives State Award

July 05, 2016

Ozark Center, an entity of Freeman Health System, was recently named the 2016 Outstanding Performer for Housing Development by Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health.

Ozark Center, an entity of Freeman Health System, was recently named the 2016 Outstanding Performer for Housing Development by Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health. This award recognizes more than 30 years of dedication to providing supportive and affordable housing solutions to individuals seeking mental health treatment.

“When a person is homeless, it’s difficult for him or her to concentrate on their mental health needs,” said Mary Parrigon, Ozark Center Executive Director. “When basic needs, like housing, are established, it’s easier for a person to concentrate not only on their mental well-being, but other aspects of their life, such as finding employment or moving toward self-care.”

In 1991, Ozark Center began providing housing for adult clients with a 15-bed residential care facility, Ozark Oaks. Since then, services have expanded to include safe and affordable housing options for independent and semi-independent individuals who suffer from chronic illness. Those facilities include Cedar Hill, Magnolia Heights and Poplar Place.

In 2010, Missouri Department of Mental Health awarded Ozark Center funds to build an apartment complex to provide housing for pre-adult and transitional youths ages 17 to 22. The Pre-Adult Transitional Housing (PATH) apartments provide a safe living environment for transitional youths to learn the skills necessary for independent living. A second PATH complex was constructed in 2013.

Additionally, Ozark Center offers Turnaround Ranch, a 72-bed residential treatment facility for adolescents ages 10 to 18. It provides 24-hour care for youths who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems.

“It is such an honor to have our programs recognized by Missouri Department of Mental Health,” said Parrigon. “We’ve had other organizations visit Ozark Center to explore the possibility of replicating our housing programs and services. It’s an example of what an outstanding housing complex for mental health should look like.”

Additionally, Ozark Center has been proactive in assisting clients with obtaining housing vouchers through Economic Security Corporation and Missouri Department of Mental Health. Ozark Center staff members also serve in various leadership roles on the Jasper/Newton County Homeless Coalition.

About Ozark Center

An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Mo., Ozark Center provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults and families in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the mental health needs of the community and promote awareness of mental illness in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit or call 417.347.7600.

About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. For 2016, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report ranked Freeman one of the top Hospitals in Southwest Missouri more than four years in a row. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 60 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart and vascular care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit or or follow Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker at