VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Heading into Mother’s Day weekend, heads of a local nonprofit are sounding the alarm about their fight to help homeless and drug addicted moms, a demographic that’s drastically underserved in Vancouver and Southwest Washington, they say.
“These are folks that are our coworkers. these are folks that are in our families,” said Jared Sanford, CEO of Vancouver-based Lifeline Connections. “These are our neighbors, and there's still a lot of stigma out there.”
Sanford and his team are working to raise $500,000 to renovate and expand a small, gray building on Falk Road, currently owned and operated by the Janus Youth Program, a group that helps homeless teens.
In Vancouver talking to homeless moms (reason to come). Melanies's daughter is an addict. Her grandkids are in foster care. Not a rare story pic.twitter.com/mzZCi46Rm6— Maggie Vespa KGW (@Maggie_Vespa) May 12, 2017
The goal, he says, is to rent the facility from Janus Youth and turn it into a 16-person in-patient treatment facility for moms battling addiction or mental health issues.
It would be called the Pregnant and Parenting Women Facility. Moms could live there with their children for up to six months, while utilizing counseling, job training and other services.
Their kids, up to five years of age, could also live there or attend supervised visits there, if the mother has lost custody.
Eventually, Sanford says, staff would work to help her find employment and housing, with the hopes of keeping the family together.
“You find a lot of women who say ‘I want to get clean and sober for my child. I want to do this for my family,’” he said. “That’s a great, motivating factor for them to jump into treatment, jump into making the changes that you have to make.”
Sanford points out, the closest facility that offers anything comparable is in Longview.
Before they can open one accessible to moms in Vancouver, they need to meet that $500,000 goal. Right now, they’re roughly halfway there.
Directors at Lifeline Connections are hoping public grants will help them make up some of the rest. The county currently allocates one tenth of 1 percent of sales tax revenue toward local substance abuse programs.
They’re also looking for private donations.
If you’d like to help, click here.
Sanford says they hope to open by 2018.