Windermere Union Church members Ron and Lin Wilensky are on a mission. Inspired by Lin’s late brother, Dave, they’re transforming the lives of people with serious mental illness by providing permanent supportive housing.
Dave was Lin’s only sibling and he suffered from severe mental illness and a resulting cycle of hospitalizations, joblessness and housing instability. Lin observed that when her brother found stable housing, his life started coming together. “He was able to work part-time, volunteer and make friends. He lived the best life he could have.” After Dave passed away in 2007, Lin wanted to honor him by helping ease the struggles felt by others with severe mental illness. That’s when she and her husband started their nonprofit organization: Dave’s House.
Dave’s House is a living testament to the power of home and family. Residents live together in a single-family home, like a family. They cook together, watch television, form bonds and watch out for one another, in the safety of a stable home. Dave’s House residents receive access to 24/7 crisis intervention support, medical care and other support services provided by community partners. “The whole idea is to help people live in community,” says Lin “Permanent, supportive housing solves the problem forever.”
Facts about Dave’s House
- Dave’s House currently supports 86 residents with permanent supportive housing.
- 9 Single Family home sites in Florida and Virginia
- There is a 90% retention rate for Dave’s House residents.
- Individuals with serious mental illness requiring psychiatric hospitalization: Dave’s House residents – 25%, National Average – 40-60%
- 100% of Dave’s House residents participate daily in productive activity including continuing education, volunteering and work
- Annual cost per person for a Dave’s House resident is $10,051 compared to $31,065 cost of homelessness (incarceration, emergency room visits and hospitalizations)
The Windermere Union Church community couldn’t be prouder of the contribution that Ron and Lin Wilensky are making to humanity. Helping the most vulnerable among us, with a loving hand and a giving heart, couldn’t be more in keeping with Christ’s message.