By Tim Kalinowski on February 19, 2021.
Fresh Start South Country Treatment Centre says it is vital to bring additional supportive housing into the Lethbridge region to ensure long-lasting recovery for those addicted to alcohol and drugs.
About 70 per cent of the population that comes to Fresh Start is homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, Fresh Start Recovery Centre executive director Stacey Petersen told city council’s Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee on Thursday.
“Our post-treatment housing is quite a critical component to our long term outcomes,” he stated. “We are building a recovery community, which is inclusive of not only those in treatment, but their families, their friends, their employers â€” and we also have a family healing program. This is offered up to anybody in any community that has been impacted by somebody else’s addiction, regardless of whether or not they have someone in our programming.”
Fresh Start South Country Treatment Centre currently has no other option than to send those who have finished their 14 weeks of treatment in Lethbridge to Calgary for transitional housing support, explained Petersen.
“What we notice with graduates of the program we have down south is we are transitioning those who want post-treatment housing back to Calgary into our post-treatment housing until we can get set up there,” he said.
Fresh Start is in the process of looking for more local options, Petersen confirmed.
“Oxford House Foundation of Canada has been a great partner to us for a lot of years, and they are looking at setting up some Oxford Houses in Lethbridge,” he explained. “And we have then said we would like to have some exclusivity on one or two of these homes. We are also in conversation with Robin James (Lethbridge Housing Authority) at looking at some other housing at Lethbridge.”
Petersen was also asked by Deputy Mayor Rob Miyashiro if Fresh Start South Country Treatment Centre had considered setting up its own local onsite detox facility to complement its longer term abstinence recovery program.
Petersen said the option might be on the table once Fresh Start finishes expansion of its current facilities to bring in more treatment beds.
“In Calgary we are licenced and accredited (to do detox),” he explained, “but our facility is only licenced to do treatment, and as part of the land use designation they said we could not do detox.
“When it comes to the Lethbridge facility, when we look at expansion â€” it is a potential the existing facility may become a detox. It is a possibility.”
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