Where is Caramore located?
Our home office and our residences are in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area of central North Carolina. We are geographically situated in the area known as "The Triangle" which encompasses Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.
The University of North Carolina has its most renown campus in Chapel Hill, and Duke University and NC State are only 30 minutes or so away.
Excellent mental health care, free public transportation, and the availability of employment opportunities are all key elements central to our location.
How can I apply... fill out an application?
Read over out "Becoming a Client" page, and you can download the application here.
What Kind of Residence will I be living in?
Caramore maintains six 4-bedroom apartments that can accommodate up to
22 residents. Within those apartments we incorporate some on site office
space for our Residential Advisors and extra room to visit potential clients
into our program.
Every apartment is set up like a quad, with 4 bedrooms surrounding a
kitchen/living room area. Each quad bedroom has its own private bath.
Our quads are comfortable and inviting environments that we are very
proud of. Generally, our clients initially live in one of our quads,
work on their own personalized goals, and when they have the
stability, finances and skills to meet their next challenge, our
clients move to their own apartments within the general community.
We also carry some long term quad leases in other apartments that we
offer to some residents under our Tier 3 program. These long term
leases are options for select clients who meet certain specific eligibility
requirements we have and who have chosen to reside in this local area
for an extended period of time.
How Will Residential Advisors Help Me?
Residential Advisors (RA's) are on staff to help individuals with mutually agreed upon personal goals and skill attainment. Afternoons and evenings will center around meal planning and prep, residential housekeeping chores, social opportunities, medical appointments or
therapy, and residential skill training as needed. Monitoring medications and the development of a understanding and routine for taking one's medication are areas that are referred to often.
How Many Clients are in the Caramore program?
We typically have 20-22 clients in our quad residences and then
perhaps 25-30 residents receiving our services in their own residences
or in our extended lease Tier 3 apartments.
What Will I be Doing at Caramore?
You will start out by living in one of the quad residences, and
working six hours per day on either our Cleaning Crew or our
Landscaping Crew. Our aim is to get all of our clients in a normalized
routine of structuring their workday so they can get up on their own,
attend to personal hygiene, prepare meals, get to their place of work,
and work for six hours a day with fellow clients and a supervisor who
will be their support and guidance.
Can Caramore assist me in attaining SSA Disability?
Or, if I currently have SSI or SSDI, can Caramore help me keep them?
Whether you already receive Social Security benefits when you enter Caramore or want to apply for them while you're here, we can help.
Here are a few facts. There are two types of benefits, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides benefits to blind or disabled persons who are "insured" based upon FICA contributions, while SSI provides benefits to low income people who are disabled, blind or elderly.
Many of Caramore's clients receive or are applying for one or both types of disability. Those who receive SSDI will also receive Medicare two years after the date they became eligible for SSDI. Those who receive SSI automatically receive Medicaid.
Some common myths:
- everybody is denied the first time
- most people are denied three times before they're approved
- if you work, you'll lose your benefits
In fact, assuming you are disabled for purposes of Social Security law, your chances of being approved the first time you apply are very good if your case is presented properly.
Also, while SSDI and SSI calculate your "earned income" differently, each allows disabled individuals to work part time. In fact, each program encourages its recipients to work. Caramore's mission is to, among other things, find employment in the community for its clients. It could not do so if Social Security prohibited or otherwise penalized its recipients from working.
Caramore helps those who are seeking benefits navigate the sometimes complicated application process, and it helps those who are receiving benefits understand the rules that apply to them concerning work, Medicare and Medicaid. The interplay between these social services can be overwhelming; it's comforting to our clients and their families to have Caramore there to help with the issues that arise inevitably.
Scott D. Zimmerman
Financial and Benefits Counselor
Is there any cost for being enrolled at Caramore?
No, there is not. However, all of our residents pay rent from wages that they earn working on one of our own work sites or through a community job that they are working at.
How can I pay any rent if I can't work?
bAll of our clients begin working as soon as they enter our program. The work sites are specifically designed to help our clients develop the skills they will need to help them eventually secure a job of their choice. We ask all of our residents to "apply themselves as best they can" when they initially enter Caramore, and our residents adapt and progress with job skills at their personal pace. Caramore aims to set the bar reasonably high for all of our clients, as a means to help the development of the tools that our clients will need to hold down jobs in the community.
Is Everyone Treated the Same at Caramore?
Good question. The answer is yes ... and no. Everyone is treated fairly at Caramore, no doubt about that. However, the very nature and spectrum of mental illness is evidenced in the vast array of skills, temperaments, personalities, behavioral problems, symptoms, etc that our clients bring with them. We try to tailor our program so that it can accommodate every individual who enters Caramore. We don't offer "special treatment" to individuals, but we do offer "personalized treatment"
Our expectations, however, from everyone are the same --- All Caramore participants are expected to, and required to, "do the best they can."
Do I have to live in a Caramore Residence? What if I already have good housing arrangements in the vicinity?
We have some clients who already have established good local residences in our community. Those clients receive services that do not include residential treatment. However, we are careful to assess the circumstances and situations that are in place, to be sure that the overall plan is productive and beneficial for the individual.
Our own residences are designed to provide safe and positive environments for our clients ... we try to steer our clients clear of any residential environment that will exacerbate illness symptoms or be counter-productive to other aspects of rehabilitation.
Who is eligible to receive Caramore Services?
In general, Caramore is available to adult residents of North Carolina, 18 years or older, who have a certified medical diagnosis of being Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill (SPMI). SPMI diagnosis is a term referring to medical terminology regarding Axis I or Axis II conditions indicating that a person has severe mental illness.
Other criteria also apply in regard to a person's "suitability" for Caramore. Those criteria can be found in more detail on the Who is Eligible for Caramore section on our home web page.
Are most of the Caramore clients men or women?
Caramore is made up of men and women, from 18 years of age and on up. Currently we have both men and women in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's. At times we may have more older clients, and at other times the enrollment might be leaning towards the younger participants. Most of our clients feel comfortable in the program and there is enough diversity and flexibility that all feel welcome and accepted.
How Long does the Caramore Program last?
This is perhaps the most challenging question to answer, since all of our clients have different needs, talents, desires, etc. The quick answer is that the duration of the Caramore Program is a basically a one year experience. Within that year, we find that people move and progress at different rates, depending on their illness, medications, personal factors, etc. What might come easily for one, could be extremely difficult for another. And vice versa.
We generally advise all Caramore participants to plan on dedicating at least a full year or more towards Caramore and the variety of services we make available. That year should include getting stabilized, establishing a continuous work routine, developing and honing good personal and work-related habits, sticking to a savings plan, finding a satisfying job, and consistently carrying out a personalized plan towards success.
In our experience, all of those goals take some time. There are no easy shortcuts, nor do we encourage clients to "race towards" a perceived goal line. For years, we have seen that clients who are patient with their progress, realistic in their goals, and determined to live and work independently, have had the best and longest lasting results.