One year ago, Residents in Recovery was considering closing the doors to their downtown recovery centre and now the organization has a new funding stream that ensures their stability for the next three years.
MLA Colleen Young says a contract between Residents in Recovery and the Saskatchewan Health Authority was signed on November 27th. The agreement will provide the organization with $170,000 annually until 2023 as a part of Saskatchewan’s $435 million commitment to mental health and addictions support and services.
“It’s a huge relief,” Executive Director Tyler Lorenz says. “It’s been stressful many times wondering if are we going to make it through this. I went many months in a row without a paycheck and so did some other staff to just bridge this and get us to this point. Our landlord has been supportive and everybody has done their part to make sure this works.”
Lorenz says the funding will go towards operations costs and guarantees their six staff members are paid as they help people on their addictions recovery journey. After years of advocating to the Ministers of Health and Mental Health and Addictions, Young says she’s glad to see it get to this point.
“[It’s] the operational funding on an ongoing basis is always a challenge in healthcare. Knowing the results that are coming out of this type of program is what the government looks for to see whether they can sustain it and provide the ongoing funding. I think the reports that Tyler has been sending and the success it was having in this community was enough for them to say we need to have this.”
Despite the money troubles over the past year and COVID-19 interruptions, Lorenz says they’ve still continued to push their programming along using various supports. Residents in Recovery currently has 25 people under their addictions care programs and operates two men’s and two women’s care homes in the community.
He notes there is a continued demand for their services from people in both provinces. There are over 200 people on their waiting list and applications have doubled and calls inquiring about their programs have tripled compared to the same time last year. Lorenz says the overwhelming demand reflects how successful their programs are in treating addictions.
“Three of the people we had in the program in that first six months are now working in treatment programs in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It just speaks to the level of success the program has had. We have multiple people who are one or two years clean that lived their lives in shelters and incarceration. It’s been life changing for so many people.”
Another care house may be in the future for the organization. Lorenz also says they are still open to expanding their programming to the surrounding communities as a few have reached out expressing interest.
“This really speaks to what the Government of Saskatchewan is doing. Rural Alberta, rural Saskatchewan, these rural communities can be supported with a program like this. You don’t need to in a big centre. There are cost efficiencies in a program like this, what we do for $170,000 most treatments can’t operate even a month with it. I think we can build this in many communities very effectively.”
Lorenz expressed his love and appreciation for the community and their support over the years since the program first launched in 2018.