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History of His Will Homes
His Will Homes (HWH) was established in June of 2012 by John Hitchens, a 20-year Air Force veteran, as a non-profit organization whose charter was to provide housing for people with mental health conditions. HWH was established based on the premise that people who struggled with mental illness were treated like the “least of these” in Matthew 25. He believed no one was more shunned, rejected, and hurting than an adult with mental illness. He decided to help these hurting community members by establishing an organization to meet their needs.
In 2013, he decided to try and help already established group homes. He made this decision after volunteering at another non-profit in Dayton called St Agnes Outreach where he had the opportunity to visit many of the group homes in the Dayton area. One day the leader of the outreach asked him to visit one of the group homes with her to see about repairing a leak in the roof in the dining area. When he arrived, he was appalled at the deplorable and disgusting living conditions of the home. John told the leader he wasn’t going to fix anything but was going to get the home closed. The leader then told him a story from 20 years earlier when she had decided to do the same thing. She was able to get the news media involved and eventually shut the home down. Unfortunately, the state wasn’t able to find homes for everyone, and one man froze to death under a bridge that winter. She said right now they have food and a roof over their head. She told John he needed to find a better way than just getting the home closed. That was the easy thing to do. After that conversation, John decided he would.
At first, John felt the best way to help the individuals in the home he visited was to try and support the for-profit homes already established. He started with the home he visited. He brought supplies, visited the individuals in the home, and helped fix things around the home. Around the same time, a His Will Homes board member found another owner who was having medical issues and needed to find someone to run their home for at least 4 months while she had surgery. His Will Homes (HWH) agreed to help her. This home was not much better than the one John had visited; however, it was bigger and not running at full capacity. John had finally found a way to close that other deplorable home by combining its residents into this one he had agreed to manage. This merging of the two homes brought in efficiencies and more money. For the first time in many years, the bigger home was making a profit. Based on their non-profit status, His Will Homes was able to acquire food, appliances, volunteers, clothing, and other necessities for free. HWH was also able to build great relationships with local partners that brought supportive care services the residents needed and hadn’t received in years. The state ombudsman who had been visiting the home for over 20 years praised HWH after noticing the rapid improvements of the residents in only 4 months’ time. All of HWH’s efforts helped to sustain the home and started to turn things around for the residents and the neighborhood. His Will Homes eventually decided it was best to acquire and run their own home so they could utilize their own philosophy of CARE (Creating an Atmosphere of Respect and Empathy) which was lacking in the homes they were trying to help change.
Currently HWH is part of a movement to end the stigma and improve the plight of Individuals who struggle with a mental health condition. We believe we can address the problems that need to change and save lives. We have two main campaigns we are developing to attack the issues. The first one is to establish a safe community, in person for locals and online for others. You can read about it on our becoming a “Mental Health Warrior” page, and you can join this community at the bottom of any page by selecting the “Join Now” button. We believe this initiative will significantly impact the mental illness sufferer, their family, and advocates by providing needed support, resources, and training. The community can help supplement or replace. if lost, the needed family and community these individuals and their loved ones desperately need but don’t normally have. We are coming alongside them and letting them know they are not alone. As our numbers grow, we believe we can achieve our second campaign as well, because we will have an entire movements’ voice, passion, and resources to finally overcome all the obstacles of acquiring, rehabbing if necessary, licensing, operating and sustaining the mental health warrior homes. Removing at last the largest barrier to helping these individuals thrive!
So come join the movement, we are just beginning!