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Program Spotlight: Northside Community Support Program (NCSP)

Jun 28, 2024

One of People Incorporated’s 20 programs, the Northside Community Support Program (NCSP) helps adults living with a serious and persistent mental illness overcome the challenges of mental health, substance abuse, trauma, isolation, and more. As a free, membership-based program, NCSP’s goal is to make sure people have access to community-based services.

NCSP proudly serves the North Minneapolis community and currently has around 200 members. NCSP is a low-barrier access point with the purpose of helping community members reach their life and wellness goals – whatever that looks like for each individual.

“It’s a food desert and a desert of mental health services in general. There isn’t much available here, and during the height of the pandemic, many businesses closed or left,” said Program Manager Kristin Sierra. “What we’re trying to offer is a safe place for people to come and be themselves.”

NCSP’s offerings are limitless, including but not limited to:

  • Recreational activities and games like billiards, BINGO, Jeopardy-style trivia, ping pong, and bean bags.
  • A walking group to promote physical health and create opportunities to explore local businesses and public spaces.
  • Narcan training with complimentary Narcan kits.
  • Nutrition education from licensed nursing staff.
  • Food boxes of nonperishable items, donated by a local food shelf, that members can pick up and take home for free.
  • Single-serve meals provided by Eat for Equity that members can enjoy at NCSP or take home for free.
  • Access to appliances like an oven or laundry machine for members’ personal use.
  • Gardening education and access to community gardens and their yield.
  • Skills groups around topics like grief with open discussion supported by mental health professionals.
  • Support with housing access, referrals to other community supports, and paperwork related to benefits (food support, employments applications, and more).

The services provided at NCSP are ever-evolving thanks to a weekly “coffee talk” facilitated by Program Supervisor Brian Schlecht, which allows program staff to gather feedback from members. Its member-based model creates a collaborative and open-minded community where members can easily voice their concerns and desires.

“Some people use our program as a stepping stone in their journey because it’s a way they can still be connected to services and support and community,” said Schlecht. “It’s about the social and peer connections. It’s a place where everyone is going through their own recovery journeys but can still gather together.”

To meet eligibility for NCSP membership, you must be an 18+ adult, a resident of Hennepin County, and live with a serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI). Members can have substance abuse or co-existing disorders, and NCSP frequently assists with immediate needs for at-risk individuals. To seek membership, you can visit NCSP (1309 Girard Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411) during their drop-in hours, which are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. You can also call them at 612-521-2116. To make a gift to support this important programming in the years to come, visit the Give page on our website.