SOURCE: Conard House

November 05, 2009 09:00 ET

Leading Government Officials and Non-Profit Organizations Declare Proclamations to Honor Conard House

Groups Honor 50 Years of Helping SF Residents With Chronic Mental Illness

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 5, 2009) - Conard House, a pioneering nonprofit organization developing resources to help people self-manage mental illness since 1960, today announced that over ten national and local governmental bodies and healthcare organizations have declared official proclamations in recognition of five decades of innovation in community mental health. The proclamations will be read as part of the Conard House 50th Anniversary celebration on November 5th.

Conard House was founded by Elaine Mikels, a visionary social worker committed to social justice for all people, especially those outside of traditional society. In 1959, Ms. Mikels saw the need for a "normalizing transitional community" for people with mental illness returning to San Francisco from Napa State Hospital. In 1960, she created Conard House, the first halfway house in San Francisco named after her social work mentor, Conard Rheiner. Following her ground-breaking efforts for people living with mental illness, she became active in anti-poverty work, the anti-war movement, the civil rights campaign for gays and lesbians and women's health.

The proclamations uniformly express overwhelming support for Mikels' transformative work helping at-risk SF residents suffering from chronic mental illness achieve a self-reliance and self-confidence where they could return to work and participate in community life. They also publicly commit to honor Mikels' work by continuing to support her vision and her legacy now embodied throughout the Conard House community.

Groups and government officials planning to issue proclamations on Founders' Day include:

--  United States Senate, Senator Dianne Feinstein
--  United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the
--  California State Senate, Senator Darrel Steinberg, President Pro-Tem
--  California State Assembly, Assembly members Tom Ammiano, District 13
    and Fiona Ma, District 12
--  San Francisco Health Commission, Jim Illig, Chairman
--  San Francisco Mental Health Board, Helynna Brookes, Executive Director
--  California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies (CASRA),
    Marianna Baptista, Education Director
--  San Francisco Human Services Network, Steve Fields, Co-Chair
--  San Francisco Mental Health Contractors, Kavoos Bassiri, President
--  San Francisco Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
    (SF NAMI), Gifford Boyce-Smith, Board President

"We're truly honored to have the ongoing support of so many people who work in public life and in the field of mental health," said Richard Heasley, executive director. "The support of our community on this special occasion inspires us as we continue to fulfill Elaine's vision. The recognition that these proclamations bring validates our work and helps to spread Elaine's vision and values about how best to help people living with and managing their mental illness around the country."

For more information on Founders Day or to request an invitation, please visit:

About Conard House

Conard House, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization providing mental health services to residents of San Francisco. Founded upon core principles of self-empowerment, self-determination and the least restrictive, community-based living, Conard House opened its doors in 1960 as the City's first "halfway house" for adults following hospitalization. Today it serves more than 2,000 people in two-dozen locations. Support for its programs and services come from various city agencies, service fees from organizations, rents from residents, grants from foundations and gifts from donors. For more information about Conard House and its programs, please visit

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