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Program launched to house 150 in addiction recovery from Operation Rio Grande

By Katie McKellar, KSL  |  Posted Jan 29th, 2018 @ 3:03pm


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MURRAY — Six months after the launch of Operation Rio Grande, Salt Lake County is adding another program to help people struggling with drug addiction and homelessness off the streets.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announced the county's new sober living housing program, meant to place people taken from the streets by Operation Rio Grande and into addiction recovery into the next phase — safe, affordable housing.

"Many of the clients arrested and jailed during Operation Rio Grande were homeless as a result of their behavioral health issues," McAdams said. "Even if they complete their drug treatment program, many will still struggle with living arrangements. … We wanted to give them a living environment that's supportive and conducive to their continued healing."

The new pilot program, meant to transition people from treatment back into the community, is estimated to assist about 150 people with three months of rent in residential recovery homes.

The program is funded by $300,000 in one-time money from the Utah Department of Workforce Services. County officials said if the pilot program is successful, the county will look to request funding to turn it into an ongoing initiative.

To qualify, clients must be actively participating in Operation Rio Grande's specialty court program, complete a community residential treatment program and graduate from the Salt Lake County Jail's Correctional Addiction Treatment program.

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Eligible clients receive vouchers for up to three months of paid housing support. A three-month voucher pays up to $2,000.

The county has partnered with seven different sober living home providers, including First Step House, Foundation for Family Life, Odyssey House, Sober Living Properties, Wasatch Recovery and Legacy Management Properties LLC, which have residential treatment facilities in neighborhoods throughout Salt Lake County.

"As partners, we all recognize that the journey from addiction to sobriety is a marathon, not a sprint," McAdams said.

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