Sun Street Centers to suspend women’s residential treatment services in Hollister

The organization will continue to operate the women's sober living environment for single women and mothers with small children, and the men's sober living environment.

Information provided by Sun Street Centers.

Sun Street Centers announced on Jan. 15 that they will no longer be providing residential alcohol and drug inpatient treatment for women in Hollister. The last day for those services is Feb. 13.

According to a recent release, Sun Street Centers will continue to run their other two programs in the area—the women’s sober living environment for single women and mothers with small children, and the men’s sober living environment. These are aftercare programs for those who have completed a drug/alcohol program or are enrolled in outpatient treatment.

The nonprofit organization received their state license from the California Department of Health Care Services in June 2018. After 17 months of operation, they failed to receive county referrals, which were integral to their plan to serve San Benito County residents, the release said. Without local county support, the program is not financially viable.

“Unfortunately, the county continues to send all referrals out of county today and has done so since we opened our licensed program in June 2018. Although we had two contracts, the county failed to make any referrals,” said Anna Foglia, CEO of Sun Street Centers.  “We never expected San Benito County to sustain our program alone, we only expected them to support the local women who needed and asked for the services, to be a partner, and fulfill their contracts.”

The release also noted that there was the additional obstacle of a lengthy State Medi-Cal licensing process, which took twice the expected time to process and required the intervention of staff from State Assemblyman Robert Rivas and State Senator Anna Caballero when the Medi-Cal Provider Enrollment Division lost Sun Street Centers’ application after a site visit. This is something the state allows for, permitting counties to “back bill” for clients referred during the application process.

Women who are currently receiving services will be offered the opportunity to complete their 90-day program at the King City women’s residential program in Monterey County. No charge will be afforded these women, and transportation to King City and back will be provided. The Hollister inpatient drug treatment program is a perinatal licensed program that serves single women, pregnant women, and women with children under five years old.

Sun Street Centers has been in continuous operation for 52 years serving people in Monterey and San Benito counties. Valerie Smith, president of the board of Sun Street Centers and resident of San Benito said, “We were so excited to develop programs in our county and keep services for our residents local!”

Sun Street Centers purchased the property located at 343 Sixth Street in Hollister in early 2018. “Our passionate staff are local residents and our alumni are so very grateful for the services they received over the past two years. It breaks my heart to have to suspend services, and especially for this reason,” Smith said.

Foglia and Smith report the plan is to reopen later after finalizing contracts with surrounding counties.  Foglia is also working with the Community Action Partnership and the San Benito County Department of Social Services to apply for a Community Block Grant to help women referred by the local shelter.

Also in attendance at the emergency meeting was Sun Street Board Member, Stephanie Hicks. Hicks works closely with local donors supporting this important service for our County. She commented, ”We have a strong and growing commitment from local advocates. We are not giving up until we can meet the need for our women seeking recovery from addiction!”

The nonprofit organization will reapply for the State of California Reinvestment Grant as well, the release said.

“It is our hope that we will be able to reopen with new funding sources in the future, meanwhile, we will keep all licensing requirements in place for the facility, but we will not be providing any licensed or certified services at this location after February 28, 2020 until further notice,” Foglia said.

The women’s Sober Living Environment will remain open (as will the men’s program) and we will continue to serve women and children in that capacity, helping local women with their long-term recovery goals which include reuniting with their children, finding employment, completing their education, and staying clean and sober. Sun Street Centers has served 48 women in the drug treatment program that is suspending services, with an 85% success rate. The SLEs serve an additional 55 residents annually.

Sun Street Centers wishes to thank the following organizations and people that have invested so much in the effort to support San Benito women and continue to do so: Monterey Peninsula Foundation; Health Trust of Silicon Valley; Community Foundation for San Benito County; United Way of San Benito County; Community Action Partnership; Community Homeless Solutions; San Benito County HHSA-CSWD; San Benito County Board of Supervisors; the City of Hollister; San Benito Health Foundation; Sacred Heart Church; Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital; Casa San Benito County; Emmaus House; Food Bank; Donors from San Benito  Gives and 12 Days of Giving; and all of our Donors from Taste of the South, Wild West, and Provence.

BenitoLink Staff