Jefferson Transitional Programs (JTP), a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, is named in honor of Dorothy Jefferson (1917-1995) who was a tireless advocate for mental health education for consumers and family members. She campaigned and appealed on the local, state and national levels for intelligent care of a population whose special needs are rarely addressed.
In 1990, JTP was created under the name of Friends of Jefferson House, (FOJH) to act as a liaison between local business and government entities to assist persons with psychiatric disabilities. Activities included raising funds to enlargen and enhance programs for mental health consumers and aiding individuals to obtain permanent employment and safe, affordable housing.
In 1994, the vocational program began to provide an accommodating work environment for consumers to transition to competitive employment. Contracts with CalTrans and Riverside County Transportation Commission provided various worksites. A collaborative effort with Riverside County Mental Health, Jefferson House provided job coaches and transportation and Department of Rehabilitation referred interested consumer.
Also, this year, FOJH acquired two residential living facilities for transitional housing opportunities for mentally ill clients on the verge of homelessness, through the HUD Dollar A Year Program.
In 1995, Jefferson Transitional Programs employed its first peer staff member.
In 1996, the agency expanded it’s vocational services to the San Jacinto and Hemet area of Riverside County by acquiring the thrift store lease formerly held by Mt. San Jacinto Alliance to the Mentally Ill. In a benevolent move, AMI also transferred to JTP a Community Development Block Grant to establish the thrift store as an employment training center for individuals with disabilities.
In 1999, with the nationwide disillusionment of the HUD dollar a year lease housing program, JTP found itself at risk of having to close it’s housing program. In less than one month, under the leadership and strong resolve of CEO Sue Moreland, the initial $20,000 necessary to pen escrow for the five JTP Supported Living Homes was raised. In 2000, JTP saw completion of the purchase process which required a tremendous amount of coordination and negotiation. Working tirelessly on this project was JTP’s Sue Moreland and Michael Dove of Commonwealth United Mortgage. JTP was qualified for funds not only to purchase the homes, but to renovate them as well. Southern California Housing Development co-signed to help qualify our small non-profit organization and also guided the renovation effort. To maintain three homes it was necessary to sell two. Board member, Paul Berkshire and Realty Executives’ staff facilitated the sale of these homes and the closing of escrow in less than a month. Mr. Berkshire and Realty Executives’ owners declined the customary commission and escrow charges. In September 2000, the sale of the two homes was finalized. Today those two houses still provide safe and clean places to call home.
This same year, the board of directors changed the agency name to Jefferson Transitional Programs (JTP).
During 2001, JTP became heavily involved in peer education and support through a partnership with NAMI-Western Riverside County and Riverside County Mental Health. This facilitated community presentations called Living With Schizophrenia and other Mental Illness, an interactive presentation, that highlights Mental Health consumers in recovery. At the start of 2002 the peer recovery model was elaborated when Jefferson Transitional Programs consumers/mentors were trained and the first session of the NAMI-signature program, Peer to Peer started. In spring 2002, Jefferson Transitional Program received Congressional Recognition and Outstanding Nonprofit Organization Award presented by the Agency Executive Association in celebration of Nonprofit Day, Riverside, CA. JTP’s Program Director, Lisa Partaker flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to accept national recognition for JTP’s creative and innovative approach to the renamed recovery presentation, In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illness.
In 2004, President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health called for peer support services to be integrated into the continuum of community care. The guiding philosophy of all peer-delivered services is that those who have “been there” are the best helpers. At JTP, two peer-run resource and service centers were started in 2006. The Peer Support and Resource Service Center offer services to: Current Transitional age Youth (TAY) (16 to 25 years of age), adult and elder adults with Riverside County Department of Mental Health and those exiting the system, Peers who are looking to move toward a more independent life, Peers who are interested in skill building and education, Peers and their families; and Peers who have a desire to be involved in and actively contribute to the community
In 2007, JTP opened the safe haven, the Place. JTP is contracted with Riverside County Department of Mental Health to run the Place or Safe Haven, which offers a 24/7 drop-in center and a 25-bed housing complex for single men and women. The target clientele are street dwellers who are the most visible, but often the hardest to reach: those who have been homeless for more than a year and have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Staff at the Place consist of a dozen peer recovery coaches many of whom were homeless themselves.
In 2009, JTP acquired a contract to produce the Recovery Arts Corps. The Recovery Arts Corps is a team of Peer Support Specialists and Peer Artists who travel throughout Riverside County, spreading recovery principles and skills while simultaneously teaching artistic techniques. The Recovery Arts Corps reaches many people within Riverside County as they travel to clinics, peer-run centers and many other community locations, teaching recovery and their various forms of art as they go. As peers are empowered to build community-valued skills, they are also encouraged to use their own life experience to further the recovery of others and to become peer leaders themselves.