Transitional housing program forced to downsize plans

Abundant Safe Living has downsized from four houses to one house.

Abundant Safe Living has downsized from four houses to one house.

The transitional housing program for people who have completed addictions treatment opened in Red Deer in December 2011.

Director James White said the community has failed to support the program financially.

“Because we haven’t got the support from Red Deer to keep it afloat, we’ve had to go back to one house,” said White on Thursday.

The program grew to four houses to accommodate 20 people. But about two months ago, three of the houses were closed to clients and are now being rented out.

“They are still at our disposal come next fall. We’ve rented them out to a couple of companies and some college students,” White said.

The remaining five-bedroom house for women, located in West Park, is full.

Abundant Safe Living provides affordable housing with a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use. Clients must be employed. Room and board is $550 per month.

“Because we’re not funded by the government at this stage, because we don’t have our charitable organization number and it takes a year and a half to get that, we haven’t been able to apply for any government funding.”

He said since clients can stay as long as they want, there’s no waiting list to fill beds that become available to consistently fund the program.

“There’s no way to put a time limit on someone’s recovery. Everyone is different.

“My purpose right now is just to raise a bit of money to put into a bank account.”

In June, a 60-year-old Red Deer woman was found dead outside a West Park school after she was evicted from an Abundant Safe Living house for breaking the sobriety rule.

The death was deemed not suspicious.

White said he wants to add a 24-hour staff member.

“The more the accountability for the client, the better the chances of recovery are.”