Marlon and Michelle live together on a tree-lined street in a two-bedroom apartment in a quaint, two-family house. As they talk about their home, their faces show their pride and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. They know that having a home is a big responsibility and enjoy their time together, even in the routine tasks many take for granted, such as cooking and washing dishes, walking to the local laundromat or grocery shopping.

Their life today is very different than it was just a few years ago. Marlon and Michelle met 11 years ago on Valentine’s Day at the adult home where they lived. Both were struggling with the effects of mental illness. When they learned about the possibility of living in supported housing, they were eager to apply. Both yearned for the greater freedom this would give them to live the life they imagined for themselves. They were helped in their transition by ICL which provided the housing and supported them in making the transition to their new life.

They had requested to live together and were thrilled when ICL was able to accommodate them. After a careful home search, they selected a little house in a quiet Queens neighborhood. They worked hard to prepare for this move to their new home and today sitting in their sun-filled living room, they talk about what their home means to them. “Living here and getting the support we need has shown me there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” explains Marlon. “We’ve both been able to turn our lives around and our families are very proud of us,” says Michelle, “We love our home. It’s beautiful and clean and quiet. We can listen to music and sit on the porch. Our neighbors are nice and we’re getting to know them.”

They take great care of each other, helping get ready for the programs they attend daily, ensuring they’re making scheduled doctor appointments, and reminding each other about daily medications. They enjoy the everyday freedom to make decisions for themselves because they have the support they need from ICL.

Today, they are each looking to the future. Michelle is invested in eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while Marlon wants to work toward his GED. They both would like to travel. This part of their journey has just begun.