© 2024 WMRA and WEMC
WMRA : More News, Less Noise WEMC: The Valley's Home for Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Respite home to open for hospital patients without housing

Leaders from Sentara RMH, Strength in Peers, the city of Harrisonburg, and the RMH Foundation gathered last week to celebrate the new respite home. From left: Catherine Hughes, Stephanie Reedy, Jenni Collings, Nicky Fadley, Deanna Reed, and Cory Davies.
Randi B. Hagi
Leaders from Sentara RMH, Strength in Peers, the city of Harrisonburg, and the RMH Foundation gathered last week to celebrate the new respite home. From left: Catherine Hughes, Stephanie Reedy, Jenni Collings, Nicky Fadley, Deanna Reed, and Cory Davies.

A "respite home" is slated to open in Harrisonburg next month for people experiencing homelessness who need somewhere to recuperate after being hospitalized. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Years ago, Nicky Fadley and her team at Strength in Peers identified a need in the community. The nonprofit provides recovery resources and peer support to those struggling with substance use, mental health, and trauma, and they saw people who were homeless being hospitalized for physical and mental health crises.

NICKY FADLEY: The hospital then had nowhere to discharge them to, and so they would wind up back on the streets in very vulnerable medical conditions, and not have the supports necessary for them to recover. And so, what was happening? They were landing back in the hospital.

With a grant from the RMH Foundation, Strength in Peers started putting people up in hotels after being released from the hospital. Fadley said that over three years, the annual number of guests grew from about 20 to more than 50. Those patients had better health outcomes and saved the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical services.

Now, the organization is partnering with Sentara Cares to open an eight-bed respite house next door to Sentara RMH. Fadley said most patients need four to six weeks to recuperate, but that decision is made on a case-by-case basis with the hospital's care management team.

FADLEY: We've served individuals in the middle of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. … We've even had an individual participate in our program at the end of life, who may not have had the ability to die with dignity had it not been for a program that was there that could provide them the shelter and the support.

The nonprofit is collecting donations of toiletries, staple food items, and other supplies for the house. It's scheduled to open in late August.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.