In 2003, Karim Behi, President of Cultural Homes, befriended a man who lived in a group home for people with mental illness.
His friend, who was Muslim, was not comfortable in his home. The food was not Halal. His English was limited, so he was not able to communicate his symptoms and needs to the staff. And his family and friends stopped visiting him because they had trouble navigating the group home system due to language barriers.
Karim was troubled by his friend’s situation and wondered if cultural barriers made it difficult for other residents living in group homes. When he moved to the Twin Cities area in 2004, he researched the situation and found a need for culturally specific care for mental illness and chemical dependency. He opened the first Cultural Homes group home in 2005. By 2009 the organization had expanded to three homes.