Cathy's and Deschutes County Partner to Give Hope and Purpose


Cathy’s A Greener Cleaner creates job opportunities for people who are involved with the Deschutes County Health Services Supported Employment program. Supported Employment is a specialized program within the County’s Behavioral Health division, which provides treatment and assistance for clients suffering from mental health issues. To qualify for the Supported Employment program, clients must have a formal mental health diagnosis and be actively in treatment with Deschutes County Behavioral Health. Some common diagnoses are Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizoaffective disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder. These illnesses often cause relationship issues, eating disorders, and problems with employment. Despite these mental difficulties, the individuals are able to work and be can be integrated into the mainstream system.

Individuals with behavioral health issues are referred to the Deschutes County Supported Employment program by their respective therapists. Research has revealed that competitive, gainful employment is as effective as therapy and/or medications in treating mental illness. The best results come when all three (therapy, medications, and employment) are used in conjunction with each other for treatment. It is important to remember that these individuals deal with the same stress, anxiety, and depression that many in our society do, but to a more extreme level.

Cathy’s A Greener Cleaner works with Deschutes County Supported Employment program staff to see who would best fit the job, and sometimes “job carving” occurs depending on the clients ability to complete the task physically and mentally. The client is placed and trained either by the Cleaners or can be trained by the County.

There are approximately six employees at Cathy’s that have been placed in employment. One employee in particular has moved on to attend college. When this person came to Cathy’s, they had little hope and sense of purpose-and now-that sense of purpose and confidence is renewed due to employment at Cathy’s. The clients that are placed want to be there and are grateful for the opportunity. Clients are all eligible to work full time, are responsible for their own transportation and treated as a regular employee. Cathy’s provides a learning experience for the clients.

The Deschutes County Supported Employment Program has been ranked #1 in the state for the first two quarters of 2014. The program boasts a 59% employment rate for its clients, while the state average is around 35%. The County employs three, full-time employment specialists and one lead therapist to oversee the program. All are 100 percent dedicated to the success of each client and are grateful to Cathy’s for joining in this partnership.

Cathy’s employs people in all their locations if positions are available in Bend, Redmond, and Sisters.

Dennis Loveless of Cathy’s chose to do this so people won’t fall through the cracks as he has seen many people end up feeling worthless and therefore become homeless or worse, commit suicide. He has done this through his previous jobs and wants to make sure that he takes care of his community and create an atmosphere of support and hope. His parents took in foster kids when he was growing up and he saw the value of giving dignity and a sense of purpose.

Dennis can sit down with the client’s team to coach the client and work towards a personal goal for them. It’s a process and a commitment to help them succeed.

“We need to take care of each other and be aware that anyone you see could be suffering from a mental disorder, depression and can’t find a way to cope. Hope and purpose are ways that help,” says Dennis, “Helping people find employment is a magical step towards a healthier individual.”