KAMLOOPS - "The health consequences of my decisions have been severe and lifelong. Ended up in hospital and then into House of Ruth. I have been clean and sober for two years and am so proud of myself as I have made my connection with God and the staff. I know that this was the turning point that has saved my life."
"In my life of recovery I’ve discovered routine and structure, new life skills including employment training, confidence through counseling and support from the staff."
Testimony on the House of Ruth website reveals some of the effects the non-profit long-term rehabilitation facility for women has had in Kamloops since the late 90s.
But as of Oct. 1, it will be no more.
"The House of Ruth is running a deficit," said Terry Butcher, manager of the Outreach Centre of the New Life Mission. "We have been unable to secure any adequate funding to cover the costs."
The House of Ruth is just one service of the Mission, which also provides programs and services for food, clothing, medical and dental, a hair salon, foot washing, thrift store, outreach, and men's recovery programming.
"It put the whole organization at risk," Butcher said of the House of Ruth deficit.
Butcher believes the government is looking in a different philosophical direction; one towards housing first.
He admits safe housing is important, but said different people have different needs and rely on a recovery model like the one at the House of Ruth. He isn't thrilled about the other direction in which the government is leaning.
"Recovery versus incarceration — it just doesn't make any sense," he said.
"It saddens me where we're putting our resources," he said. "We need folks with the will to change that system so everybody has a chance at wellness, not just those with good jobs and benefit packages."
Butcher isn't sure what could save the House of Ruth.
"The problem is, even if you paid all the back debt and you got everything up-to-date, you would still continue to lose money," he said. "It has to stand alone and pay it's own bills."
He said the house has never made money, only lost it, relying on a $40 per diem allotted for clients — something that just isn't cutting it.
"That is about $1,200 a month. The cost per client is about $3,500," Butcher said. "The money is for housing, it isn't for all the extras. We still have to provide food, counselling, clothing, programming and run the building with all the hard costs."
Once the house is sold the couple hundred thousand dollars in debt the Mission owes can be paid down, the mortgage can be reduced and there may be some money left over for building upgrades and renovations.
As for the few women that are using the services at the house, Butcher said they're being given options by staff of where to go next, and only one remains unsure of where that will be.
About a half a dozen people will be losing their jobs with the closure. Butcher, however, remains optimistic.
"We haven't given up, we just have to rethink how we do this," he said. "It's the right program, it's the wrong venue."
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