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  • Writer's picturemanaway1

Location and Policy answers

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

In an attempt to make as much information as broadly available to people as we can, we are posting here. Please pass the link on to those who may find this info valuable. To date, I have spent my time focused on getting the policy and procedures, application, and staff handbook solid. I figured that closer to the time that we were ready to open, I would finalize public documents and distribute them as we spoke with neighbors - something that was always going to happen (we had envisioned an open house).

In regards to NARR levels, we are a Level II house, though, with the programming and supervision we offer, the level of service we provide is really closer to a level III.

For information about our vetting process & specific application, please see attached.

With regard to location. We limit who we work with so that we will not endanger neighbors or their children. We chose these homes for their physical characteristics, proximity to services and transportation, and specifically not on a cul-de-sac. Apart from that, because of the population we are willing to serve, having a school over the back fence - a fence that was lined by significant mature hedging was not a concern for us. Our policy when it comes to children is specifically that they are not to interact at all, unless specifically invited by the parents and then never without them. Whether we house veterans, people in recovery, correctionally involved people or others, we will not knowingly place anyone who poses a risk to community members and will relocate them immediately and proactively if an issue arises or appears it may.

Disturbances: in the community? This will not be tolerated. We have a good neighbor policy. They will not even be permitted to smoke (which many may) outside of the backyard - not on the front step, not on the way to the house. We are aware of the very pleasant community in which we are working and expect to not only preserve it but to add to it. Profanity in public is not tolerated - nor will it be in the house. Interactions with neighbors are to be pleasant and friendly. Think of the bellhop at a hotel that greets everyone he sees. These are the guidelines we set. Enforcing them outside of the house is obviously impossible, but news of failure will result in a warning and then an escalation. An actual disturbance will be investigated thoroughly and depending on the circumstances, may result in relocation to another home (not ours).

To address the DOC. It is one organization that we intend to serve. I have written to immediate neighbors to explain that while we have submitted an application for approval from the DOC and do hope to house their people, we have contacted many organizations about housing their people. None of the other organizations have policies that require written notice to the local P.D. As such, none of them are in the public's mind. At the moment, the whole community believes we are going to fill it with criminals and nothing could be further from the truth. In our proposal to the DOC, which was forwarded to the local P.D. we clearly stated that we cannot house anyone with sexual-related offenses or threat to children-related offenses. Understand, it is in neither the DOC's nor our interest to see a situation unfold where someone in the community is hurt by placing another in a recovery residence. We hope that we have a mix of veterans through the Veterans Affairs Office, people in recovery from Lake Whatcom Residential & Treatment Center (and others), people from drug court, county jail, and from the DOC.

Here is the irony in all of this. We are open to housing whomever the Lord brings us. Based on information from those mentoring us, those from whom we are drawing experience, and other providers we are in constant contact, we actually believe that people through the Earned Release Program (see link above) from the DOC are likely the best candidates to start with. This is for so many reasons.

1. They are used to working in close proximity to one another in a shared living environment

2. They are the longest substance use free! While it may be possible to get drugs in prison, it is not common, or frequent. As such, these are guys who have established significant track records clean and sober. This reduces the risk of relapse.

3. The guys coming from the DOC are those who have proven committed to working within rules and abiding by the system - that is how they were given Earned Release.

4. They are on an earned release pass - hanging over their heads is that if they step outside of the terms of their release, they not only return to confinement, they lose all future possibilities of earned release.

5. Finally, why Men? Running a women's house is far more challenging. I am a man, so please forgive the political incorrectness of this, but everything we have heard, learned, and seen suggests that we want to run men's houses before we take on the drama of running a woman's house. They are far more work and challenging to successfully manage. I do not want to run a co-ed house.

We believe that we are where the Lord wants us in this, we are also in a position financially where this is our future - there is no turning back. I fully believe we will far exceed all expectations (which are unfortunately very low). I can tell you that two years from now, I expect neighbors to be grateful for the house they live next to. They will have had no issues, they will have enjoyed seeing the lawns better cared for than they have ever been, they will have enjoyed seeing the property improvements we intend to make as we have resources, and they will even enjoy the occasional interaction with the earnest clients we serve.

Please find attached a copy of our application.

LifeHouse Application
Download PDF • 200KB

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