NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Nacogdoches, a faith-based, non-profit organization is working to help East Texans with chronic mental health issues. East Texas News Weekend’s T’Ebonie Tanner stopped by to see how they plan to create a community within a community.
“We are trying to get ready for our first residents,” said Laura Culpepper, a co-founder of The Village Nac.
Culpepper said there is a need in the community for people with mental health conditions to transition, heal, and avoid homelessness.
“We wanted to create an environment of acceptance where time is not an issue. You can stay here for as long as you need to until you are healed. We also realized that not everybody is in the same place,” said Culpepper. “We believe that community is a part of the solution.”
Many volunteers came out to help renovate units into an environment for healing.
“The units will be transformed into spaces for eight people to live. So, our goal in the next couple of months is to create that,” said Constance Engleking, a co-founder of The Village Nac.
“We plan on painting them. We have a color scheme we are shooting for with cute little porches to make each of the apartments seem like home,” Culpepper said.
Engleking said many people who suffer from mental health issues are isolated.
“Those folks can begin to get to know each other and then rebuild confidence to participate in life,” Engleking said. “And hopefully, they can engage in one of our micro-enterprises that we will have available and actually earn some extra income.”
“I think that is what drives the heart of all of us who are a part of this project, is to show to others that those who can be broken and hurting need community, too.”
The Village Nac plans to be done renovating living units and accepting more residents towards the end of the month.