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Flanner House to unveil greenhouse and mental health center to support urban core

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Flanner House is building on its commitment to the community with an element focused on overall health, with hope it helps strengthen Indianapolis’ urban core.

The Flanner House is in its 125th year of service to the Indianapolis black community, and they are taking aim at two types of barriers: Food insecurity and access to mental health care. It’s another step to improve overall outcomes in the community.

Flanner House is rooted in the community. It’s a path that’s been more than a century in the making.

“There are days where I walk in and I am completely humbled,” said Brandon Cosby, CEO of Flanner House.

Cosby says there’s much more in bloom: Commercial green houses adding to a six-year-old farming operation.

“Part of what we began talking about is how can we continue to make sure they were offering affordable, healthy food options. we begin to embark on this process of finding a location to be able to build a greenhouse operation,” Cosby said.

In a given year, roughly 50,000 pounds of produce are harvested, but Indiana winters quickly put a stop to growing season. The greenhouses opens them up for a year around growth season, helping keep the nearby Cleo’s Bodega stocked.

“There’s a tendency to talk about what’s not here and what’s not available. In the neighborhood and a community that is on it’s journey back to being vivacious and fruitful, you have to have the amenities that are available right there in the community.”

While construction wraps up on the greenhouses. Crews are making quick work on Morning Star: A brand new mental health facility at the corner of West 23rd Street and Doctor M.L.K. Jr. Street.

“If you really want to talk about having an impact on the neighborhood and in a community that has been impacted by violence, that has been impacted by trauma, then we have to be able to have centers available for people to be able to heal.”

Data shows black men find it hard to find adequate mental health. Black men are 20 times more likely to be misdiagnosed, and 30 times more likely to be improperly medicated.

“If I walk in and sit down with a therapist, who culturally is not aligned with me, who may not be familiar with the values in the norms within the black community. There’s a level of responsibility that gets put on the person who came there for care.”

Cosby says the therapist will have that vital cultural connection to community.

The ribbon cutting for the greenhouse and mental health center will occur on Juneteenth.