Randene Wejr and Kelly Fehr, co-executive directors of the John Howard Society-North Okanagan/Kootenay, speak to media at new sober living facility on 43rd Avenue.
Addictions recovery programs in Vernon are expanding.
The John Howard Society has purchased a home at 2500 43rd Avenue for a ten bed sober living complex for men and women who are exiting treatment programs.
Co-executive director Randene Wejr says it’s next door to Bill’s Place, their treatment centre.
“We’ll be able to house five people on each floor — five people who come from the treatment centre for sober living, so that’s the idea behind it. (They can stay there) maybe up to a year, and they’ll maybe find employment in that time, and continue to give back to the recovery program,” Wejr tells Kiss FM.
Wejr says it will address a much needed gap in the community.
“It’s absolutely crucial. All of the research demonstrates that if you actually have a sober living facility to go to after treatment, you’re chances of success are exponentially greater, especially if it’s longer than a month, two, or three months.”
The purchase was made possible by a $220,000 donation from the Foord Family.
“It’s absolutely incredible. We just could not make this happen without that,” adds Wejr.
The donation is being used as part of the $454,000 house purchase.
Co-executive director Kelly Fehr says men or women who have completed treatment, will be able to stay at the new facility.
“The big challenge in our community is individuals on income assistance or disability only receive $375 a month for rent. Where do you go that’s not a rooming house where you can still really work on your sobriety and recover? So this gives that option which previously didn’t exist in Vernon,” says Fehr.
Fehr says clients at Bill’s Place are predominately substance use, but it also includes gambling.
“So anyone that suffers from addiction is accepted into Bill’s Place, and to complete the process, is welcome into our sober living, if it’s needed for them.”
Wejr says the John Howard Society will operate the facility.
“Our basic $375 rents from the clients will definitely cover at an 80% occupancy rate, so we know this is sustainable.”
With the new facility, the JHS now operates 38 spaces in Vernon: 9 beds for harm reduction programming at the Howard House, 10 treatment beds and supported recovery at Bill’s Place, 9 beds of extended care for those who have completed 3 months of treatment, and 10 beds of sober living support for those not ready to enter the private housing market.