The Salvation Army plans to close its Adult Rehabilitation Center in Seattle this year, suspending its program for women and changing its men’s program to focus more on job training.
The center, across from CenturyLink Field in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, helps people “combat their addictions, build the work and social skills needed to re-enter the workforce, regain health and stability, and restore families that have been disrupted due to substance abuse,” according to the organization’s website.
“Our facility space is very old … and expensive to operate, and not designed really for today’s environment of working and having an efficiently-run work therapy program, which is what we do in the warehouse space,” said Bill Dickinson, divisional commander of the Northwest Salvation Army. He added that the decision was made last August to put the property up for sale, but declined to provide details on the current status of that effort.
The closure is planned for Sept. 27, according to a Wednesday announcement from the state Employment Security Department, whose local rapid-response team will team up with WorkSource to help the 58 employees who will be laid off. Profits from selling the property would go into an endowment reserved for future rehabilitation programs in the Northwest, Dickinson said.
The women’s rehabilitation program will be suspended until a new model is developed, and those who haven’t completed the program by Oct. 1 will be able to transfer to another program, according to a statement from the Salvation Army.
Meanwhile, the men’s program will transition to a new model focused more on job training that includes culinary work, food safety and kitchen operations in the Salvation Army’s Culinary Arts Program — which will launch this year — and instruction in construction and administration, the organization said. The long-term vision, according to Dickinson, is to offer an array of work-therapy options in the rehabilitation programming, including custodial and technical training.
“We’re taking a step back as we go through this transition to look at what could we do differently and what might help us to be even more effective in helping people up,” Dickinson said. Aside from changes to the work-therapy component, other rehabilitative programming will remain the same, he added.
The new program model will initially be limited to 35 men, due in part to limited residential space, the organization said. As with the women’s program, many of the men currently in the program will have graduated before the transition happens, Dickinson said. The new, smaller program will be based out of a facility near the Salvation Army’s Shoreline thrift store, which is where the work-therapy program will initially be housed, Dickinson added.
Other Salvation Army facilities, including a transitional shelter, are located around the North Seattle and Shoreline sites, creating the opportunity to develop what Dickinson described as a “hub” of services in the area.
“We’re looking for a new store location — actively, now — and so as soon as that happens, or as soon as we develop a new work-therapy option, we would expand either the men’s facility or we would introduce a women’s component, or both,” he said.
The Salvation Army’s rehabilitation centers have been around for more than 100 years and provide therapy, counseling, life-skills development and spiritual direction to about 150,000 people every year, according to the organization’s website. The Seattle center has been operating for more than 50 years.
“There’s never going to be a convenient time to do this … There would never be a convenient time to relocate our programs or to transition them to a new model,” Dickinson said. “So we have to be proactive and just start at it, and know that if we start today, then sooner rather than later we’ll be able to grow and have a larger program that will impact more lives in a positive way.”
About 29% of people who enter the program complete the first six-month phase, and 90% of those who continue to participate for up to 12 months find a job and independent housing, the Salvation Army statement said.
An office complex is likely to be built on the Sodo property, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported last summer. For the 2019 tax year, King County appraised the total value of the Salvation Army’s three Sodo parcels — two for warehouses and one of parking — at $19,309,100.