Pathways Addictions Resource Centre will officially re-open its doors on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
Since closing in May, the staff have been working tirelessly to find a new way to offer services to the people of Penticton.
“When we talked to our clients about closing they were extremely concerned about where they would go. Some told us they wouldn’t go anywhere else. Our worry has been that a lot of people would fall through the cracks if we closed for good,” said Meyers.
Meyers told Penticton city council last week that their phones have been ringing off the hook with people in crisis who haven’t been able to find anywhere to get help.
In what was a controversial decision, Interior Health announced in March that it would stop funding Pathways as of May 31.
“Although our doors are opening some of our services have changed,” said Meyers. “It’s hard to replace $500,000 in annual funding so we had to come up with a way to keep offering our services.”
Pathways has had to move to a fee for service model in order to pay the bills and re-open.
“We are still a non-profit society, and our commitment is to the general public, regardless of income or ability to pay,” said Meyers.
This means counselling sessions and groups are now a paid service. The fees are on par with what is available elsewhere, she said. People seeking addictions counselling still have the option of free services through Interior Health.
Pathways is also expanding to include counselling for substance use, anxiety/depression, PTSD, trauma, grief, fears/phobias and anger management.
All counsellors at Pathways are certified and their advice is to check into your Employment Assistance Program to see if counselling is covered.
“Regardless of your ability to pay, please call and talk to our staff,” said Meyers.
“While we know that many people can afford to pay a fee for service we also understand many people cannot,” she added. In order to look after all the people in Penticton, Pathways is launching a “Give a Gift of Service” campaign.
This campaign will allow people to donate directly to Pathways and designate that their donation be used as a gift to assist someone who may not be able to pay for services. This can be for individual counselling or enrolling in a group. Donations are eligible for a tax receipt.
“We look forward to being here for another 47 years to serve the people who have supported us every step of the way,” said Meyers.
The continued and ‘overwhelming support’ Pathways has received has been so heartwarming and motivating to keep going, said Meyers.
“It has kept us so hopeful and because the support has been so strong for six months now, it shows how many people need our services and how many in the community care about the services we provide. We have support from businesses and politicians to clients and beyond.”
To the applause of a full house of supporters last week, city council unanimously passed a motion for Interior Health to reinstate funding to Pathways immediately.
For more information about Pathways go to pathwaysaddictions.ca
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