In 1969, a concerned mother, Dorothy Anderson, along with fellow citizens and community leaders, began meeting at Episcopal Hospital in North Philadelphia to develop mental health services for people in the neighborhoods of Kensington, Port Richmond, Fishtown, and Juniata Park. Community leaders, citizens, and family members who participated in these meetings would become the core of an advisory board for a new center with the goal of making the new program a freestanding (rather than hospital-based) center.
In 1974, a new nonprofit corporation was established and named COMHAR, Inc. In January 1975, Episcopal Hospital received a small staffing grant to expand to a full Community MH/MR Center. This grant was then transferred to the new corporation and COMHAR became a free standing center with a community governing board. Some of the members of that first group of concerned and committed citizens and family members continue to be involved today, over 40 years later.
From these early beginnings, COMHAR has grown and formed into a comprehensive human services organization by implementing community centers, community living arrangements, co-occurring behavioral health and addiction programs, services for the Latino community, services supporting individuals with HIV/Aids, and children and family services. Today, our services are offered in the Philadelphia, Montgomery and Northampton County communities, in homes, community centers and schools helping over 11,000 individuals each year. We provide a full array of recovery-oriented and quality-focused services. Our services are diverse, from outpatient treatment, to day support and residential programs, to workshops, in order to bring support to persons where they are and in ways that support their individual recovery.
With over 700 staff members, COMHAR is dedicated to our mission of providing services to support persons in their recovery and empower them on their journey.