NORTH TAMPA — A $6 million Salvation Army residential center that can serve up to 30 women recovering from various addictions opens to its first clients on Monday.
The Adult Rehabilitation Center for Women is only the second one for women in the Southeast for the non-profit agency that offers a “sober living program.” It is adjacent to a similar one for up to 163 men at 13815 N. Salvation Army Lane and features a dormitory, commercial kitchen, dining room, recreational room, counseling spaces and a chapel that will offer services by the Protestant Evangelical church for both men and women.
Salvation Army Major Katherine Reed and her husband, Major John Reed are the local administrators of the Army’s recovery programs. They both have overseen such centers in California and Katherine Reed said that the women can best be served in that sized house – which also includes two employees.
Other agencies, churches and the public defenders office refer the women who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. They cannot be a violence offender or a sexual offender.
“Some are on the street, and they hear about us,” John Reed said.
The clients, the Army calls them “beneficiaries,” don’t pay, but “they must come prepared for at least six months, and treatment can last up to a year,” said Katherine Reed , who added it costs Salvation Army about $30,000 per person for six months.
The faith-based recovery program uses the 12-step method as defined by Alcoholic Anonymous, professional counseling and education classes. Participants attend AA or Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
The center’s operation is funded totally by five Family Thrift Stores across Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco counties. It doesn’t receive government funding but the program does become the custodian of a participant’s food stamps if the participant is a recipient.
Male program participants work processing donations from the public and businesses. Between 60 and 70 percent of the 200 employees at five stores are alumni of the men’s program, John Reed said.
The women also will work there and focus on sorting bric-a-brac, which is a top seller along with women’s clothes and furniture, he said.
“They learn to work with a supervisor and work with peers,” said Katherine Reed, who added that some female participants may also work help with answering phones.
A daily routine includes getting up between 5 and 5:30 a.m., making their beds and other chores, breakfast, work, lunch, dinner and classes. They also are required to attend chapel services each Sunday and Wednesday eve.
John Reed said, “It is a full day, a regular schedule. This helps them get focused on the right path.”
The men in the program even got involved in the creation of the new chapel. They took a 100-year-old wooden cross from a cathedral in North Carolina, refurbished it and installed it behind the altar.
“For our men to make the cross, it was quite a meaningful thing,” said Katherine Reed.
About 38 percent of the men who start the program finish it, said Katherine Reed.
The Salvation Army looked at several possible cities for the new women’s program “but after careful assessment, they knew Tampa was the place. This truly is the most supportive community we’ve ever had,” John Reed said.
The new women’s program will have an official dedication and grand opening on Feb. 6. But the administrators wanted to get it up and running now.
“This is a nice Christmas present for some families to know that their little girl has a roof over her,” Katherine Reed said.
Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]