Project Return offers recovery-based services to assist people recovering from mental illnesses to live productive and fulfilling lives in the community. These services are provided at a fraction of what it would cost our community to hospitalize these individuals.
Project Return was first established in 1971 in Buffalo, New York by Rhoda Zusman to address the needs of people with severe and persistent mental illness who were being discharged from Buffalo State Hospital into the community. Later, in 1979, a sister program was established in Los Angeles, California under the Los Angeles County Mental Health Association. In 1983, the Florida legislature provided funding to establish a Project Return program in the Tampa Bay community. In 1985, the program in Tampa was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization.
In the early years of Project Return's activities in Tampa, homeless and non-homeless adults with mental illness were served at the organization's Center for Lifelong Education, Training, and Development. The Center provided opportunities for Project Return's program participants, who are "members", to gain computer skills, learn problem-solving techniques, acquire home maintenance skills, receive vocational training, establish friendships, and receive linkages to the mental health system in Tampa. Project Return's first outreach program for the homeless mentally ill was also housed in the Center, and members were assisted in securing housing and were offered a variety of supportive services.
In 1993, Project Return took the next step towards achieving its goal of providing a range of services for their members. The organization purchased a 24-unit apartment complex within walking distance of the Center for Lifelong Education. called “Friendship Palms.” The complex provided safe and affordable housing for people recovering from mental illnesses along with supportive services, such as medication supervision, crisis intervention, and respite. Since 1994, Project Return has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of HUD to provide permanent housing services to those in the community who were homeless and recovering from a mental illness.
Project Return Programs
Project Return continues to meet the needs of people recovering from mental illnesses in our community by providing a continuum of services that help them to enhance their quality of life and acheive the life outcomes that they value. This is offered through mulitple service areas:
Supportive housing services:
Project Return’s housing complex, Friendship Palms, provides a safe and supportive home for over 40 residents each year. The housing program also offers a number of services residents can select from: goal development and personal service planning, service coordination, crisis support, medication supervision, support groups, and social/leisure opportunities.
Project Return also provides community living and outreach support services for other members living in the community.
Educational, Social, and Personal Enrichment Services:
At the Center for Lifelong Education, Training, and Development people are helped to reach their personal goals and achieve a better quality of life through educational, social/recreational, and personal enrichment opportunities. The Center offers a avariety of classes and activities..
Project Return offers a selection of vocational/employment opportunities and meaningful work roles for members to select from in order to achieve the life outcomes that they value. Types of services members may choose from include: volunteer work, organizational employment, supported community employment, and supportive services.
Project Return: A Community Partnership
Project Return has been effectively meeting the needs of the Tampa Bay community by providing support services for people with mental illnesses in our community, helping them to become more productive citizens. Financial support from corporate, foundation and individual contributors is vital to these efforts. By joining these efforts, your generous contribution will ensure that Project Return continues to provide needed services for our community for many years to come.
About 20% of the U.S. population are affected by mental disorders during a given year. A large number of these people are unable to care for themselves without support and are being cared for by our prisons, or on our streets - U.S. Surgeon General.