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SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a problem for years: There just aren't enough beds in the Volunteers of America Utah Detoxification Center to meet the needs of every Utahn seeking help in becoming sober and clean.
The burden on the organization was eased a bit Wednesday evening, when the VOA opened its remodeled and expanded Detoxification Center at 252 W. Brooklyn Ave.
Back in November, the VOA started construction on the expansion project. Now finished, the Detoxification Center boasts 12 more beds, increasing the total to 68 beds.
Dee Gittmer is one of 3,000 people who receive help from the center this year.
"I was trickling downhill, and I didn't know where it was going to end, and some of my friends said, ‘Go to the VOA and get help,'" Gittmer said.
This wasn't his first time at the center, but he said each visit has helped him to think clear again and start looking for work.
It's people like Gittmer who need to know they always have a place to reboot. But in the 26 years the VOA's Detox Facility has been open, that hasn't always been the case.
"About three people a day we were having to refuse service (to) because our beds were full," explained Kathy Bray, president and CEO of VOA Utah.
While the new beds will help, it's still not enough. "We have a problem that's beyond our capacity still," Bray said.
There are no plans to expand again, so for now she and her colleagues are focusing on the people they can help to get sober.
If you or someone you know needs help, the Detoxification Center will take in anyone over the age of 18. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just contact the facility at 801-363-9400.
In January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints committed to match up to $200,000 in donations from the community. The Detox Center is currently $35,000 shy of that mark. If you'd like to help the VOA reach that goal, you can donate* by visiting the Support the Detoxification Center Building Fund website.
Contributing: Jordan Ormond
*ksl.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.