New sober living suites open in Vernon thanks to family's $220,000 donation - InfoNews

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New sober living suites open in Vernon thanks to family's $220,000 donation

Addictions manager Brad Houghton stands in the kitchen of the new 43 Avenue sober living home.
December 05, 2017 - 11:38 AM

VERNON - Natural light pours into the spacious, refinished kitchen, a reflection of the brighter path this home’s tenants will be on as they maintain their sobriety.

The fully renovated, two-floor house on 43 Avenue was recently purchased by the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan thanks to a $220,000 donation from the Foord family for use as a sober living complex.

The home has a full kitchen on each floor and a total capacity of ten tenants who will each pay $375 a month — the rent portion of a standard income assistance cheque.

The John Howard Society was able to buy the home when it went up for sale this year thanks to a donation from the Foord family.
The John Howard Society was able to buy the home when it went up for sale this year thanks to a donation from the Foord family.

“We’re making sure it’s affordable, because that’s one of the biggest barriers to people finding sober living and a good place to rent and get yourself back on your feet,” the society’s co-executive director Randene Wejr says while giving a tour of the basement suite.

The home will provide bady needed breathing room at Bill’s Place, a recovery and sober living facility for men and women that opened in 2013, also on 43 Avenue.

Wejr says they’ve had their eyes on the new property for years, and when it came up for sale, they jumped on it. The proximity to Bill’s Place means staff will be able to check in on tenants daily and support will never be far away.

John Howard Society co-executive director Randene Wejr says the house will fill a huge gap in the community for sober living.
John Howard Society co-executive director Randene Wejr says the house will fill a huge gap in the community for sober living.

The new housing will be used for individuals who have completed their recovery at Bill’s Place and are looking for a safe and healthy environment to maintain their sobriety.

“The big challenge in our community is individuals on income assistance and disability only receiving $375 a month for rent, where do you go where it’s not a rooming house, where you can still really work on your sobriety and your recovery?” co-executive director Kelly Fehr says. “This gives that option that previously never existed.”

Brad Houghton, the addiction services manager at Bill’s Place, says they’ve seen many success stories over the years and is thrilled to see resources for recovery expanding in Vernon.

“The truth is (addiction does not respect) title or position. I know people that are blue collar workers (and) white collar people. It doesn’t recognize social anything — it can affect anyone,” Houghton says.

Kelly Fehr, Randene Wejr and Brad Houghton in the living room of the new sober living home.
Kelly Fehr, Randene Wejr and Brad Houghton in the living room of the new sober living home.

There is no government funding going into the new facility; it was made entirely possible by the Foord family donation and is self-sustainable based on 80 per cent occupancy. The society expects it will typically be completely full with people coming over from Bill’s Place, which has an ongoing waitlist due to space limitations.

“We’re able to do this and we’re not reliant on a change in government, or a change in policy, we’re just completely independent and sustainable,” Wejr says.

If you, or a loved one, are interested in the recovery program, go here for more information or contact Brad Houghton at bradley.houghton@jhsnok.ca.


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