Dear Community of St. Joseph’s,
I wish you and your loved ones a healthy and peaceful 2018.
I am pleased to provide the following overview of several significant accomplishments that many in the St. Joseph’s community contributed to during 2017, as well as a preview of some of our more important initiatives for the coming year.
Nationally and in the North Country, the impact of the increasing heroin/opioid epidemic has been devastating. The total number of deaths from heroin and opioid overdoses this year nationally will exceed more than 64,000, a number greater than those lives lost in the Vietnam, the Afghanistan and the Iraqi wars combined.
In the North Country, St. Joseph’s has: experienced a 106% increase in admissions to Outpatient Services with heroin/opioid diagnosis in less than two years; and experienced an Inpatient Rehabilitation services admission rate for 2017 of over 97% heroin/opioid diagnoses.
To meet these challenges, St. Joseph’s has embarked on numerous efforts, including:
• We have broken ground on our Supportive Housing facility in Malone. As you may have read, we received a $5.56 million capital grant from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation to establish a 20-unit supportive housing facility in Malone to house 20 adults who are in recovery from addiction and ten children all of whom are homeless, or are at high risk of becoming homeless.
We have also received an additional $1.5 million grant from the Empire State Homeless Housing Initiative to provide for staffing for the project over a five-year period.
The initiative will also provide such services as care management, life skills, consumer education, and educational counseling. North Country Community College will partner with St. Joseph’s to provide a variety of course work for residents. (This is the first New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation grant to include a collaboration with a Community College, and this approach is now being considered as a new model for other Homeless Housing projects throughout the state.)
• In our efforts to further enhance St. Joseph’s continuum of care, we have recently entered a memorandum of understanding with Hospitality House – a men’s residential treatment facility in Albany. This opportunity allows us to augment Hospitality House’s mission with areas of our expertise, while benefitting from that agency’s strengths, which include the potential for significant referrals from St. Joseph’s Inpatient Facility.
• We have received $1.3 million, over five years, in funding from the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative to develop three new Permanent Supportive Housing programs targeting three special needs populations who are homeless or at high risk of becoming or returning to homelessness.
The goal of the first program is to provide housing stability for women with young children who are in recovery from addiction, life traumas, and co-occurring psychiatric conditions. The program will be located in Ticonderoga, Essex County, in a single property that will have four apartment units sited close to the Ticonderoga Medical Center campus and St. Joseph’s Ticonderoga Outpatient Clinic.
The second program is for Veterans (including those who do not currently have access to Veterans Administration benefits) who are in recovery from addiction, PTSD, and other life traumas and who also are either homeless or at high risk of becoming or returning to homelessness. The program will be located in Saranac Lake in a single property with four apartment units. Graduates of St. Joseph’s Veterans treatment program will be the main focus of this initiative.
Our third proposal is to fund permanent supportive housing for women ages 18 and over and who are graduates of our Rose Hill adolescent treatment program in Massena. The project will involve a single property with office/service space and five apartment units.
• We have most recently received news that we are now the owners of the Schenectady Guest House building, which is a vital component of our Aftercare Program, and an essential element that contributes to our history of sustained recovery of those who come to us for care. I thank Charlie Turner, a long-time supporter of St. Joseph’s, who has very generously donated the property.
• We have made meaningful progress working with our architects and OASAS to permanently house our Saranac Lake Outpatient Clinic, establish our new 24/7 Crisis Center, and establish a Detox Unit. This new facility is particularly important considering the growing heroin/opioid epidemic and the crisis’s impact on our rural community.
We are pursuing this effort with a new financing strategy that has the potential of reducing the time from our concept of the facility, to the opening of its doors by two years.
• We have made an exciting entrance into social media, with a new initiative that now gives St. Joseph’s the opportunity to very effectively inform individuals and families in need of addiction care of our services and will, we believe, both enhance access to care for many and help to reduce the stigma of the disease of addiction.
• To better position St. Joseph’s financially, we have worked to establish St. Joseph’s Foundation Board consisting of individuals who both believe in our mission, and have the capability of developing a meaningful financial base to provide for additional programmatic opportunities, and to build an endowment for enhanced sustainability. The foundation board will advance St. Joseph’s strategic plan of diversifying our funding sources.
• We have implemented an additional seven beds for our Rose Hill adolescent treatment program. This increase both augments our capacity to treat younger people and their families, and increases revenue for the program.
• Our Inpatient program has recently transitioned residential space to accommodate seven additional women’s beds to address a growing but underserved population in need, and will significantly reduce the current four-to-six-week waiting time for admissions for women to our program without increasing overall bed capacity.
• In 2017, St. Joseph’s received recognition as a Best Company to Work for in New York State for the sixth time. This is an important distinction in acknowledging St. Joseph’s commitment to the importance of our employees as St. Joseph’s strives to achieve its mission to provide hope and healing to the most-needy. It is noteworthy that almost all the other recipients of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State designation are for-profit companies who have greater resources than St. Joseph’s to provide for its employees.
• Our Veterans treatment program is scheduled to become certified as a Sanctuary entity. Our success in adopting this culture will further enhance St. Joseph’s commitments to compassion and healing as our other program areas work towards certification. Importantly, St. Joseph’s Veterans Program will be the first Veterans addiction treatment program to be certified by the Andrus Sanctuary Institute.
• Our Veteran’s program is also now at its full occupancy of 25 in residence, and now has a waiting list.
As St. Joseph’s embarks on a new year of providing hope and healing, I share with you the following wonderful expression of thanks from a mother of a current St. Joseph’s Inpatient resident which stated,
“I have and will continue to tell people about what a miracle St. Joseph’s is to us. We don’t know our son’s future path, however, the solid foundation and long-term support from St. Joe’s has provided him the best care he can receive. No words can truly express our gratitude! Blessings and thank you for all you have done and continue to do.”
Robert A. Ross