Community Voices Stories: 

Mountain Comprehensive Care Center

Mountain Comprehensive Care Center (MCCC) is a Lex End Homelessness (LEH) Continuum of Care partner with a mission to “to provide quality care that offers recovery and hope.” They are a community mental health center and offer services including behavioral health clinics, medical care clinics, addiction treatment facilities, housing support, and more.

MCCC client Cecil Bowling, who is now in permanent housing, talked with us about what it is like to experience homelessness in Lexington. He tells a story about a traumatic childhood, years of homelessness, and his journey to housing after an almost fatal car accident. Then, MCCC director Jacqueline Long helps us understand some of the varied work that MCCC does and why this work is so important in the Kentucky communities MCCC serves. Below are their stories. 

Cecil Bowling, MCCC client

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself—your family background, childhood, or anything else you’d like to share about who you are. 

I grew up in Ohio. But from the time when I was four until I ran away from home, I was abused by my stepmother. She physically abused us and threatened to kill us if we told my dad or anyone. It was a miserable childhood. 

So when I was fifteen, I ran away and hitchhiked and in 21 hours, I was in Daytona Beach, Florida. The maids at the International Hotel off Speedway Drive would give me money to help carry stuff to the laundry room or whatever else. I was too young for a job, but they kept me in enough money for food. 

Later we moved to Kentucky when my dad married someone new. Most of my family is here now. 

2. What is your experience with homelessness and/or housing challenges? 

It’s terrible. When you’re homeless, you can’t keep anything—everything gets stolen. Even your shoes if you take them off your feet. It’s a struggle out there.

I was at the point in my life where I would pray every night that if this is all I have to look forward to, go ahead and take me. But here I am today. He wasn’t done with me yet.

3. What circumstances in your life led to you being unhoused, if you’re comfortable answering? 

It was my fault. I got a drug charge, and I did 49 and half months on a 7 year sentence, and when I got out, everything I had was gone. I went to a halfway house in Lexington, and that’s how I got here. 

This is a very caring and giving city; it really is. I survived ten years being homeless on these streets. 

Then I got hit by a car on New Circle. I was in a coma for a week, they wanted to take me off life support and said I wouldn’t live, but my sister wouldn’t let them. 

And now here I am today, doing good. I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since and never will. On July 11th, I’ll be sober for five years. Since I got run over by that car, I wouldn’t take a drop for ten million dollars because God let me live.

4. What challenges or triumphs have you faced when seeking support from service providers? 

After I got out of the hospital, I was coming off of coordinated entry at the Hope Center when I got transferred over to Mountain Comprehensive Care who helped me get housing. 

I’m very grateful to be in this program and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that. It’s been a success. I’m living. I’ve got most everything I need, a lot of what I want. I’m happy today.

5. What’s one thing you wish people understood about homelessness? 

I share my story with people who will listen. For those of us who are homeless, sometimes something bad has to happen to turn things around. That’s what happened to me. 

But here I am, and I’m a living example of what can happen if you get help. Mountain Comprehensive Care helped me get back to living life on life’s terms. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to sleep anymore. 

Jacqueline Long, MCCC Director of Housing and Grants

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself—your family background, childhood, or anything else you’d like to share about who you are. 

I am the Director of Housing and Grants for Mountain Comprehensive Care Center. I supervise a variety of housing programs in both the Big Sandy region and Lexington, and I also supervise our agency’s entire grant portfolio and serve as the agency housing developer/project manager.

2. How did you get involved with your current role and/or homelessness advocacy more broadly? 

I began this job by transferring from a grants consulting role at a private firm. So, the housing grants for both development and rental assistance that I wrote as a consultant became my responsibility to administer as an employee of my agency.

I’ve worked really hard to increase our services in housing and have grown my department from just myself to supervising a staff of 13 people and 13 programs over two CoCs.

I quickly saw that networking and advocacy are vital to the growth of my department and the services we can provide. I have been able to create relationships with amazing people in the housing advocacy realm, and I feel that the more advocacy I can do, the better our funding opportunities will be in our agency, and the better the outcomes for our clients will be.

3. What does a typical day of work look like for you?  

In my role there are no typical days. Most days I start going through my email answering questions for staff and assisting other agency staff with their grant questions. From there, I usually have several Zoom meetings with grant technical assistance providers, grant writers, or meetings of the LEH Continuum of Care (CoC) or Balance of State CoC.

In the time between meetings, I’m writing grants, reading grant solicitations, preparing grant reports, reviewing client spreadsheets, reviewing budgets, and working through my to do list, which at this moment has a variety of grant continuations to be written, quarterly reports, budgeting issues to be worked through, questions to be answered for a grant funder, and tasks relative to a construction project I am project managing.

4. Why is the work you do important? What is the value of the work you do?  

The work I do is extremely important. I’m overseeing housing programs for the most vulnerable among us. That is a huge responsibility both on a level of humanity and helping people, but also on the level of ensuring that our funding is spent well and according to federal rules so the funding can continue.


Additionally, I oversee a grant portfolio in excess of 25 million dollars for our entire agency that consists of a variety of programs for behavioral health, primary healthcare, substance abuse, and housing/homelessness. It is important that we administer these programs in a responsible way so that the programs can continue because they all serve people in positions of need. 

5. What is one thing you wish Lexington community members knew about homelessness? 

Most of our community is a paycheck or two away from homelessness. It can happen to anyone, and it is traumatic. Everyone deserves a little grace, including the homeless.

Get involved with LEH by joining the Continuum of Care today. Partnership is free and highly encouraged for any organization or person working in the field of human services. You can also contact one of our many partners, such as Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, to ask about opportunities to get involved or donate. Learn more on our website or by following us on social media @lexendhomelessness