In 1989, in Louisville, KY, a group of visionary physicians and community leaders founded the Jefferson County Medical Society Outreach Program specifically to address the interrelated problems of alcoholism, drug addiction and homelessness.
This voluntary effort and the subsequent development of a peer-driven social model became The Healing Place in 1991. Its homeless shelter has housed and fed thousands since its opening and the residential recovery program has over 2,200 alumni—men and women restored to health, educated as to the nature of their addiction and the steps to recovering from it, reunited with their families and given the skills to take their place as productive members of the community.
It is an approach that is changing lives. Working and living on two campuses in West Louisville, men and women who were formerly isolated in their addiction find new hope through shared experience and learn how to hold themselves and others accountable for their actions based on unconditional love, concern and support.
It is an approach that is saving dollars and valuable community resources. The average cost of other treatment programs is $250 per day/per client as opposed to The Healing Place cost of just $25 per day/per client.
This economy of delivery is due directly to the contributions of the men and women in the program themselves and to the many dedicated volunteer individuals and organizations that provide needed and otherwise costly goods, supplies and services. Volunteer contributions are ongoing and invaluable, from food donation, sorting and service to renovation and landscaping projects to office work and tutoring. The on-site Clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians, medical and nursing students from local teaching hospitals, and an area pharmacist provides prescription medications. The Bar Association and Legal Aid provide pro bono advice in family, civil and criminal matters; and clients are connected with social agencies to help them with specific issues such as housing and child care.
It is an approach that works. Sixty-five percent of Healing Place alumni remain sober for more than a year after completion of the program—a rate five times the national average.
Named A Model That Works by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Healing Place program has gained national and international recognition for its excellence of service. The program has been replicated at sites in Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and North Carolina. A new women’s facility is scheduled for completion in Louisville in 2009 and The Healing Place was recently designated the model for the Governor’s Recovery Kentucky initiative that is establishing ten such sites throughout the state, two of which have already begun operation.
Recognition, replication and results that have proven life-changing for so many men and women, make The Healing Place truly a place where hope is found.