Durham Mental Health Services Celebrates Official Opening of Barlow House - New Location Expands Local Supportive Housing Capacity for Individuals with Mental Illness

On Monday, June 27, staff, clients, and supporters of Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS) gathered to mark the official opening of Barlow House, a new low-support housing location for individuals with mental illness.

Barlow House provides stable housing and staff support to four individuals. Staffing is shared between DMHS and CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) Durham.

Krista Bull, a coordinator of DMHS’ Supportive Housing program, helped get the new location up and running. “Opening this home took a lot of planning, partnership, and vision. It’s a great reward to see the house open and successfully benefitting clients.”

Glenn Koeper, Program Coordinator of CMHA Durham’s Housing Case Management Program, says that the collaboration between DMHS and CMHA Durham was a natural fit. “Accessing sufficient, safe, affordable housing for our client population is a challenge both our agencies face on a daily basis,” he says.

Barlow House is named in honour of Reverend Rod Barlow, a former minister at Whitby All Saints Anglican Church. In the mid-1980s, Rev. Barlow identified a dire need for local safe, affordable housing. At that time, individuals discharged from Whitby’s psychiatric hospital had extremely limited local housing options. Rev. Barlow lobbied the community and was a mobilizing force behind the creation of Whitby All-Saints Corporation, now Durham Mental Health Services, and the corporation’s first group home for individuals with mental illness, Colborne House.

Although originally owned by DMHS, the Barlow House location was for many years the site of an Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences outpatient program. “Without cooperation from Ontario Shores, we would not be opening this new housing site,” says Rob Adams, DMHS Executive Director. “We really appreciate and thank them for their partnership on this project.”

Mary Larkman is a resident of Barlow House and loves her new home. “I have my own room, I’m living more or less independently ... it’s a great feeling.”

Reprinted with permission from Durham Mental Health Services

For more information, please contact:
David Clarke
Coordinator, Communications and Training
Durham Mental Health Services
905-666-0831, ext. 338