Renovations continue on Emily’s Home, our sixth recovery home for women; in honor of Emily LaGree, a friend and supporter of Healing House who passed away in 2018.
The second house is named for Erin Langhofer, another friend and supporter of Healing House who passed away in Summer 2019. To donate to Erin’s Home click here and select “The Erin Langhofer Home for Women” from the list of Funds.
Our residents and volunteers continue the hard work of transforming Emily’s Home from a former drug house into a safe and comfortable recovery home. Emily’s dad Brian is one of the hard working volunteers on the Thursday crew which recently helped to construct an amazing deck and fire escape on the back side of the house. New windows were installed throughout to improve energy efficiency and landscaping is nearly complete. As the weather turns colder the crew is moving indoors, installing new HVAC systems, hanging sheetrock, replacing doors, installing cabinets, and upgrading plumbing and electricity. The spacious five bedroom home will be a welcome addition to our ministry.
Michael Liimatta began working with Healing House in January 2020. He has served in leadership positions with nonprofit organizations for over thirty years. Most of that time was spent with organizations that help the homeless and people who suffer from substance use disorders. He is a person in long-term recovery himself, having celebrated 35 years of continuous sobriety last October.
Most recently Michael served as Executive Director of Footprints, which provides outpatient treatment and recovery housing. He is founder of City Vision University and of Connecting for Good, both located in Kansas City, Missouri. For over seventeen years, he served as Director of Education for the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (now called CityGate Network), an association of 300 inner city missions. In 1980, Michael founded New Creation Center, a residential treatment center in Atlantic Mine, Michigan, where served as director for over ten years.
Michael is a graduate of the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary and has a Masters degree in Organizational Administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University. He is a certified addiction counselor and an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.
The coronavirus epidemic has caused many businesses, churches and even treatment programs to shut down or reduce their services. However, at Healing House we are accepting new residents and providing them the support they need to continue on the road to recovery. In the process, we’ve had to almost completely change the way we do business. By implementing a number of new policies, we’ve ensured the safety of those who look to us for help.These new measures start with a revamped intake process. Prospective residents apply online via our web site. After applications are reviewed, interviews are scheduled and conducted via telehealth.
At the beginning of March, we had just about completed a new gym for our residents. But recently, we switched gears to transform it into a medical observation area where new applicants spend a few days before they move into one of our twelve recovery residences. The goal is to make sure they are not sick or carriers of the virus.
In order to do this, we brought on eight new staff members to provide 24-hour a day monitoring. Some of those we brought on were long-term residents who had recently lost their jobs due to the citywide lockdown.
New procedures at the recovery homes and the Recovery Community Center are working to keep the people in our programs safe.
Everyone’s temperature is taken daily, along with special precautions instituted for hand washing and use of sanitizer when residents leave and return to their houses. These same precautions are in place when individuals come for services at the Recovery Community Center.
We have staff members stationed at the front door taking temperatures and making sure hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing are practiced. In our classes and groups, the number of participants is kept to a maximum of ten participants and they are spaced appropriately, 6′ apart.
We’ve suspended outside visitors until further notice. And all weekend and overnight passes are on hold. We are making extra efforts to do deep cleaning and sanitizing in all of our facilities.
In the event that a resident does contract COVID-19, we have plans in place for isolating them to designated rooms until they recover. We have stored up personal protective equipment for those who may end up working with those who contract the virus.
Once the shelter-in-place order went into place in Kansas City, we immediately suspended all large group meetings. This includes our Friday evening fellowship time that has had over 300 people in attendance each week.
Also shut down is our large shared dining hall. As a result, mealtimes, usually a special time of fellowship at Healing House, have changed dramatically. For every meal, we deliver 130 plates to residents at all twelve of our recovery homes. This has been a huge task and we are grateful to our kitchen workers and other staff members who have been involved in making this all happen.
One of the most important things people in recovery find at Healing House is the fellowship. With large group meetings suspended, live-in staff members are leading meetings with residents in the individual houses.
We are also working to keep the community together by continuing to conduct evening meetings virtually, using apps like Zoom and projecting them to large screen TVs in the residences. With this technology all of our group meetings are happening online; Friday evenings Alpha groups, Tuesday’s men’s and women’s support groups, and Sunday’s Healing House community meetings.
Our house managers now have their own laptops, allowing them to communicate digitally and participate in our virtual staff meetings. We’ve also set up extra email lists so we can connect with one another more directly. Counseling and recovery coaching sessions are now being conducted via telehealth. Multiple email groups have also be created to help
In the process, we learned that not all of our residences have the Internet and Wi-Fi to handle all of this virtual activity. So we’ve upgrades at all of them and more are coming.This includes installation of a new high-speed Wi-Fi network at our Cornerstone facility which houses thirty-eight men.
We are providing extra protections to our front line workers in every way. Staff members, including director Bobbi Jo Reed, who are especially vulnerable are working from home.
Please keep us in prayer as we continue to serve those who need our help the most. Our recovery community consists of nearly 200 program participants. Many are experiencing recovery for the first time. Some of them would be homeless now, especially the many who come from correctional institutions and treatment centers.
Your continued support and prayers are needed so we can stay on the frontlines. Thank you so much!