Hope House opened its doors in April of 2007. It’s a 6 bed supportive residential recovery facility, and is the first Youth Treatment program for males on Vancouver Island.
Youth admitted to the program receive: supportive counseling; life skills training; addiction education; relapse prevention strategies and recreational outings. Aftercare includes advocacy, referral, and family support.
A nondescript 1970's-era home in the Uptown area of Saanich holds six simple but tidy bedrooms, gardens, offices and a long dinner table.
For young men struggling with drug or alcohol addictions in Greater Victoria, it’s the home away from home to regain control of their lives.
“There are very few treatment centres for youth (in B.C.). You’ve got to scour the province for a place to take youth and have it not cost a fortune. This program is really needed in the Capital Region. Youth need a place to go,” said Maj. Kathie Chiu, executive director of the Salvation Army’s addictions and rehabilitation centre.
Up to six young men between 13 and 18 years old can stay at the house at any given time, typically for a month to three months. “It is a very home-like atmosphere,” said Sarah Jenkinson, a counselor at Hope House. “It’s important for youth in detox not to be institutionalized. This (facility) blends in well with the neighbourhood.”
Youth can find their way to Hope House through referrals from youth detention, probation officers and counselors. Chiu indicated that all clients will leave the house with direction in their lives and a new support network. “This is small, intimate and is an opportunity for young men to bond and rebuild relationships and get counselling,” she said. “For many of these young men, their family atmosphere is not healthy. This gives them the opportunity to live like a family. The staff become like parents, aunts and uncles.”
Keltie Manderville, Hope House co-ordinator, said its about giving the youth structure, tempered with flexibility. Mornings involve one-on-one and group counselling, and then activities like golf, basketball, swimming or hikes.
“We try to draw out their passions, be it through arts, music, drawing or writing. We draw out what they’re passionate about and build on that”.
It is now connected with the South Island Distance Education school to allow the young men to continue their high school education.
A fundamental part of Hope House is establishing an individual care plan for each youth – goals they want to achieve while in the centre, and what they plan to do when they leave.