Local drug and alcohol treatment nonprofit Sun Street Centers will host a fundraiser May 9 at Paicines Ranch in an effort to keep its doors open. After a gap year in Medi-Cal coverage, the Hollister facility at 335 Sixth Street needs operating funds so that it can continue to provide services to San Benito County residents struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Sun Street has struggled financially since losing access to Medi-Cal last year. Chief Executive Officer Anna Foglia said Medi-Cal coverage was not approved for San Benito County in-house programs, but that it was approved in surrounding counties. She attributed that to state and local politics.
However, as Sun Street’s board was about to vote to close the Hollister program, San Benito County Behavioral Health helped secure Medi-Cal for the facility. Foglia said Behavioral Health Director Alan Yamamoto worked with Sun Street staff and that Medi-Cal will be available to clients starting July 1. The program cost is $18,000 for 90 days.
The May 9 fundraiser is an effort to alleviate the program cost and help retire $250,000 of debt. Foglia said Sun Street expects to receive a grant of $187,500 in October from the county’s Community Action Agency, but at this point it’s unsure it can make it until then.
With hopes of keeping the program open, Hollister facility staff have taken a 10% pay cut.
“Knowing the severity of our situation, I even offered to go without being paid,” said Melissa Edwards, director of recovery services.
Counselor Catherine Intravia said the Hollister program was vital and stressed how well the organization’s social model works. Clients work together to keep the house in order and understand how important that is. She stressed people battling addiction need support and understanding.
For the last three years, Sun Street has operated the local women’s shelter on Sixth Street. Foglia said with a bed count of 26, the Hollister facility can serve about 150 people a year.
Sun Street uses principles of the Social Model of Health as participants embark on their road to recovery. According to Foglia, the social model is “not about a psychiatrist telling you to evaluate your life. It is about one person reaching out their hand saying follow me, I know the way.”
To make a donation, call Sun Street Centers during business hours at (831) 776-0569. For tickets to the fundraiser at Paicines Ranch, call (831) 735-5150 ext. 7, or purchase them at the door.