One way Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) provides much-needed resources to help people in the Lehigh Valley is with the Transitional Living Center (TLC) in Allentown. Since 1979, LVHN and Lehigh County’s Department of Mental Health have provided this voluntary behavioral health service. The TLC helps people with a mental illness transition back to society.
“It offers hope,” says TLC program director Ralph Erickson. “Many people that come through our program have, at one time or another, given up hope. We offer them a chance to get back on their feet. We provide a sense of normalcy in a controlled setting.” The TLC includes fully furnished apartments, complete with a washer, dryer and pool. TLC residents use one of two programs:
- Full care – This offers around-the-clock supervision for residents who need a highly structured environment.
- Moderate care – This offers 10 hours of daily supervision Monday through Friday, and eight hours on Sunday.
Each program is tailored to a resident’s needs. It provides support and education for a whole host of living skills including medication, finances, nutrition, housekeeping and interpersonal skills. The program takes referrals from families, social service agencies, physicians and hospitals.
Each potential resident is interviewed and evaluated to make sure the TLC program is a good fit. Residents’ length of stay is tailored to each resident. “We base the program on each resident’s need,” Erickson says. The TLC program is not covered by health insurance. Residents pay for a portion of their rent based on their income level and are responsible for food and other personal expenses.
The TLC has a 90 to 95 percent success rate, giving people who have few options a great hope at recovery. “Mental illness can get to the point where people don’t leave their home for days or weeks at a time, and they forget how to live in society,” Erickson says. “The TLC can get people back on their feet and on the road to living independently.”
For more information about the TLC, call the program coordinator at 610-821-2006.