“I love them all,” says neighbor Nancy Templeton from the front porch of Jacob’s House, a place she often finds herself sitting and chatting with the men who live there. A longtime resident of the Oak Cliff neighborhood, Nancy speaks highly of the individuals who live next door. “They’re all great guys,” she says, and as an older woman who no longer drives, she values being able to walk over to the house to talk.
Nancy is one of the friendly people living near Jacob’s House, a City of Dallas licensed boarding home run by The Well. These neighbors give residents of the house a gift that many living with serious mental illnesses aren’t blessed to receive: a network of people who care about and appreciate them.
Since it was founded in 2007, Jacob’s House has provided a safe, stable and accepting place to stay for a group of men dealing with mental health challenges. Finding housing is often a struggle for those suffering from mental illnesses; often, they’re taken advantage of by landlords and find it challenging to handle the responsibilities of maintaining a home in addition to managing mental health conditions. But at Jacob’s House, up to eight men enjoy not only a roof over their heads, but a supportive community—both inside the home and among their neighbors.
Jeremy Boss has owned a home near Jacob’s House for 13 years. “I’m glad they’re there,” he says of residents. “I’ve actually befriended quite a few of them.”
Jeremy says he’s highly impressed by the way the house is maintained. “[The residents] keep the property clean,” he shares, explaining that living in Jacob’s House “gives them the chance to be responsible. … We need programs like that, that help people.”
Residents like Brian, who serves as House Manager, thrive with opportunities to be conscientious and dependable. Neighbor Betsy, who has lived in the house next to Jacob’s House all her life, shares that she sees Brian as a good leader. “Brian seems to be very responsible and on top of everything,” she says. This sense of purpose—of having a meaningful role—offers a big boost to mental health, and Brian is thankful to work there.
The men’s role in the community is welcomed and appreciated by neighbors like Betsy, who says all of her 11 siblings and her nieces and nephews know those who call Jacob’s House home. “They’re very nice people, very friendly,” she shares, telling how they help her carry groceries, watch her family’s dog and let her know if they spot an unfamiliar car parked in front of her family’s house. “They’re very vigilant, very surveillant. … Having them next door and keeping an eye out is very helpful.”
Likewise, the residents of Jacob’s House benefit greatly from the care and support of their neighbors. While those who live with serious mental illnesses are often met with suspicion, these men are welcomed with kindness by people who genuinely care about their well-being. Connections like these are a vital component of mental health, and these relationships play an important role in residents’ pursuit of mental health stability.
Nancy sums up the opinions of numerous neighbors of Jacob’s House when she says, “I can’t speak highly enough.” Similarly, it’s hard to overstate the value of this community of support that surrounds Jacob’s House in the life of each man who’s found a home there.
The Well Community offers support and a shelter from stigma for those dealing with serious mental illnesses. Your gift to The Well will help address underlying issues that lead to housing challenges among these individuals, and provide them with opportunities to pursue self-sufficiency.