Local half-way house gets above average success rate

| 07/10/2014

(CNS): The local half-way house charity Bridge Foundation has revealed that in 2013 it enjoyed a 44% success rate with clients, exceeding the international average of 38% and officials from the charity say they are already on track to exceed that figure this year. However, the non-profit organisation that plays a critical part in assisting recovering addicts is in desperate need of financial support in order to continuing helping people on the road to recovery. Getting past an addiction is not an easy journey and with exceptionally limited transitional accommodation available for the significant number of addicts resident in the Cayman Islands, the Bridge Foundation has a huge battle on its hands and right now officials say there is only $3000 in its account to fight with.

The role of half-way houses in the recovery process is extremely well documented and over the past two years the two houses in West Bay, owned by the Bridge Foundation, have helped 34 Caymanians get through the difficult period. The homes can accommodate six women and soon twelve men. Although all of the residents the foundation assists are recovering addicts who no longer use alcohol or drugs they need safe, secure residential accommodation to help them stay clean and become productive members of society again.

To do this the homes need $15,000 per annum for each resident and officials from the charity are appealing to the community for help and explained why cash given to the foundation represents value for money.

“Many of our residents were inmates and all are anxious to start over again,” said Charles Jennings, the co-founder, director and company secretary of the Bridge Foundation. “Several branches of government, including HM Prisons, the governor’s office, the Drugs Court, Caribbean Haven Residential Centre and the department of counselling services, refer individuals direct to us.”

He explained that government and the public enjoy a huge cost benefit from former inmates being helped and accommodated at the foundation rather than incarcerated as prison costs around $60,000 pa per inmate – the exact amount of the annual grant given to the charity by government. The charity costs just $15,000 a year to accommodate a recovery addict in a clean environment, where they are holding down a job and hopefully reintegrating into society.

“Our residences are well-run. Curfews are in place, house guests are screened and monitored, and residents are tested for drugs and alcohol,” Jennings said. “If found positive, they have to leave. They live a communal life, cooking, cleaning, helping and being helped by their companions. And since they are not charged to stay with us, they have an opportunity to save their earnings to secure their own accommodation when they move out.”

In May an international accreditor commissioned by the National Drugs Council and the Ministry of Home Affairs formally reported that our facilities meet or exceed international standards for transitional housing.

Cayman is a small community and most people know, or know of, someone with drug or alcohol problems. One proven step on the road to recovery is the halfway house.

But Jennings said despite the charity’s best efforts and the generosity of many people who helped during the recent appeal for furniture the foundations still finds itself lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis. With just $3000 in the account which is enough to last about a week, keeping the doors open will be a major battle with some more support. Urging people to help in any way they can the charity is also seeking a major benefactor that can help with on-going continuous monthly contributions.

“In a nutshell, now that the women’s residence is fully operational and we have almost completed our extension to house more male residents, we ideally need $15,000 per month to keep providing our services,’ Jennings added. 

The Bridge Foundation needs a steady, reliable revenue stream and is looking for businesses or individuals who are able to make a regular contribution.  Jennings also asked local companies to think about the foundation as the possible beneficiary of charity dress-down Fridays or other appeals.

Jennings also emphasised that the Foundation operates in accordance with a unique written transparency policy and donors have access to all the books and records including the accounts and bank records on request unless donors have requested anonymity.“We make it our business to ensure that your donations are in good hands and accounted for in full,” he added.

For more information contact 525 5546 email: charles@jennings.ky or visit the Foundation’s FaceBook page: www.facebook.com/tbfcaymanislands

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  1. Dr.Do-Little -Too - Late says:

    I applaud those who have begun what we all hope will be an institution that will help those who have found themselves addicted to illegal substances, and hopefully will be changed to a point where they are, "as they say" CLEAN. I really do hope that it will be successful. But as one who over the years, has seen the people of this island conned into believing and trusting some people, who pop up out of the wood work claiming that they are going to save us from ourselves, only to walk away with thousands of hard earned dollars donated by caring people on this Island.

    Remember Canaan Land in North Side? Which now sits derelict in after costing hundreds of thousands of CI dollars! Remember the foreign national that was brought in to run the place? Remember how he was picked up and arrested by the police for being involved with drugs? Let us be careful!

    I for most of my life has been a person that gave others the benefit of the doubt, but here of late I have become "VERY" skeptical of a lot of these so called charitable organizations, who constantly beg us for funds we hope will be used for what are very needed services in the community. But there's such an awful track record when it comes to transparency through publication of details and explanations of where and how the funds collected were spent that my skepticism remains!

    Let us give some examples!

    Cat Boat Club: Foreign national. Walked away with funds collected.

    Church Building: Foreign national Pastor and Treasurer. Walked away leaving the members owing Hundreds of Thousands which were thought to have been paid.

    Home for the elderly: Foreign national. Walked away with tens of thousands of CI dollars.

    And the sad thing is , that in none of these "no-one" went to court or jail. These are just a few samples of what has happened and is still happening here in our islands. What I would like to see is: That all such charities keep records that must account for every penny spent and books must be audited annually by an unbiased accounting firm or the Auditor General!

    Lastly: Since this Halfway House is so close to, and has direct access to the North Sound, I would hope the there will be CCTVs strategically placed [that work] and that will monitor the compound and surrounding area. Monitoring Must Be Done. Otherwise before long, there is the possibility we'll be referring to it not as a safe haven, but as something else. I say this because ninety percent of all drug smuggling in cayman is done through the North Sound.

    So I pray that the Bridge Foundation is what it says it is, and that none of what I mentioned above will occur there. And hopefully one day it will be such a success that we'll look back at the many young people whose lives were rescued, and thank them for their good work! 

  2. Original Baya says:

    They need some Whole Way Houses up in them parts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Rumor is they are paying $1900 for the small house on Uncle Bob's Road – a house with no ac, maybe 1000 s/f of living area.  So small that the tenants have to watch tv on the outside covered patio.  And they plan for 6 women to live there – not a good living situation.


    Can we see the rental ageement for this property before making donations to what could be just a badly managed facility?

    One more question – who monitors this house? The so called house manager doesn't live there anymore.  I don't see anyone monitoring the visitors, other than the neighbors calling the Police if someone looks suspicious. 

    What is the attachment to this house?  How can the tenants be happy knowing they are not wanted in this neighborhood?  How can Bridge think this is a recipe for success? 

    Before anyone makes a negative comment on my post, ask yourself if you would be willing to give up tens of thousands in home equity.  That's what we on Uncle Bob's Road have been forced to do, the second a half way house set up on our street.






    • Anonymous says:

      Nice to see a little home equity is more important to you than other people helping save lives.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where is the 60k the government gave them a few months ago???

  5. Anonymous says:

    We need so much more of this…where are you Tara?