Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Las Vegas Update

Around 17 years ago we opened TLC in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We started small, then expanded until we had over 200 beds near the old downtown.

It was perfect for a program like ours because the area was full of addicts and alcoholics. There were few resources for them to get clean. And none could afford help.

And for a long time the government didn't mess with us. Like at our other locations, we accepted anyone who asked for help, whether they had money or not.

Then along came wise legislators and new regulations. We danced around with the legal people from the State of Nevada for a while. Then we modified how we operate so we could stay there.

Today in Nevada we house men in recovery but under new state rules we can't tell them anything. We can't tell them to go to meetings. We can't have groups at the house. We can tell them nothing about recovery.

We can enforce a drug and crime free environment - but that's it. Kind of like sober apartments.

Operating a halfway house in Nevada is like running a medical facility. Nurses must be available. Record keeping standards are those of medical facility. The State assesses a bed tax of around $100 per bed every six months. That would have cost us $20,000 a year.

The regulations are so daunting that anyone operating as we used to is out of business. And as a result, a lot of drug and alcohol users can no longer get treatment or other help because they can't afford it. Only a handful of halfway houses are left.

And I write about this today because the owner of one of the apartment buildings we leased for years finally was lucky enough to sell it. So we're closing down those 16 units and moving the remaining residents to the one property we have left, located on 9th street.

We would close down the operation completely because it's barely broke even for several years. But there are 25 residents who still want stay sober.

As long as they want help we're going to do our best to stay and help them.

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