Calgary addiction treatment centres struggle with loss of United Way funding

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Calgary treatment centres scramble to replace lost United Way funding
WATCH ABOVE: With fentanyl use on the rise, there is some devastating news for four addiction recovery programs in Calgary. Some may have to cut services, after learning they will no longer get funding from the United Way. Mia Sosiak explains – Nov 22, 2016

Several adult addiction recovery programs in Calgary are scrambling to find more funding after losing tens of thousands of dollars provided by the United Way.

Last week, the United Way of Calgary and Area announced results of its Strong Communities Request for Proposals, which garnered more than 200 requests totaling $50 million.

“With the number of applications and the dollars available we simply could not fund them all,” President and CEO Lucy Miller said in a news release.

According to a statement sent to Global News from the United Way, the requests totaled more than double the amount of money available.

“Like everyone in Calgary right now, we have to make tough decisions and continue to do more with less. Addiction is a complex issue that requires support from a number of different areas. Based on community consultation, research, current funding, and our limited dollars, the greatest impact United Way can make is in the area of early intervention and prevention.”

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Simon House Recovery Centre, located in Bowness, is one of several Calgary treatment facilities that lost its annual United Way funding. The agency operates exclusively through fundraising and does not receive any government funding.

In total, the organization told Global News it is now dealing with a $125,000 funding gap, which works out to roughly eight treatment spaces.

Officials with the residential recovery centre said they had hoped to expand the services offered, but instead recently laid off two employees.

“We need individual donors or Alberta Health Services or the province to step up [and fill the funding gap],” Simon House CEO said.

Loria said annually, the recovery centre helps 70 men reach one year of sobriety.

The United Way said it will provide transition funding and other resources are being provided to agencies whose programs did not meet the qualifications of the RFP.’

In addition to Simon House, Fresh Start Recovery Centre in Highland Park also said it will no longer be reviving funding.

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“With addiction on the rise in Calgary, this means no funding for life-saving programs such as our Family Healing Program – and a significant hit to our 16-week core addiction treatment program,” Communications Director Lisa Simone said in a news release. “Both programs require more support not less.”

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