Mustard Seed to close men's recovery program temporarily

No timeline is set for the program to reopen; three tenants will be re-housed by the organization before the end of the month

Mustard Seed New Life Community Kamloops will close its men’s recovery program at the end of the month, but says it plans to reopen at a future unknown date.

Managing director Diane Down said the funding model is not sustainable — and never has been — leading to a “temporary shutdown.”

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“We’re doing a very temporary shutdown to research a more sustainable model with better supports for our clients and then we will reopen,” Down told KTW.

No timeline could be provided for when the program will reopen.

Seventeen beds are located in the outreach building at Mustard Seed downtown, 181 West Victoria St.

Down said they have been operating since the 1990s. Asked why the decision now, she said: “It wasn’t sustainable before and that was part of the challenge at New Life. Part of the challenge of a non-profit is, you’ve got to decide — where can you get funding and what do you want your donors to assist you with. We need to find a better way of capturing the vision of our donors for our programs in a way that will survive for the long haul.”

Mustard Seed takes referrals from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre and other centres for men who want sober and supported living. Tenants typically stay one to 18 months. She said Mustard Seed stopped accepting new tenants two or three months ago, at which time the beds were close to being full.

Three tenants currently accessing the service will be rehoused, Down said. The closure comes into effect July 31.

“We will be looking to rehouse them,” Down said, though new placements have yet to be secured.

Other services provided by Mustard Seed include an outreach drop-in centre, non-profit dental clinic and advocacy services, such as housing supports and health and wellness. Down said the rest of those services will remain. Its thrift store shuttered in May on Seymour Street. Down said it closed similarily to the men’s recovery program: “We needed to reboot and work out a better model of operations.” Further closures are not expected, she said.

Alberta-based Mustard Seed merged with New Life Community Kamloops last fall. The faith-based non-profit has had a legacy in Kamloops for more than four decades, acting as a hub for those in need in the city’s downtown core. Down said change comes with innovation and Mustard Seed brings with it “expertise” having run a number of other wellness services connected to housing in Calgary and Edmonton.

“What we can do is we can replicate the model that they’re using,” she said. “That’s part of where the delay comes in here, where have a little bit of a gap, because we need to figure out how we can model our program after theirs with the appropriate funding. Alberta government is different, they do it differently so we need to figure out how we can do that here. We’re replicating something that is already working very successfully with the Mustard Seed in Alberta.”

She said the dental clinic will become an anchor for a wellness centre, with services added such as more employment coaching and health services. More information is expected in September.

© Kamloops This Week


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