Pandemic forces sober living house to help fewer people

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 08:13:21-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sober-living house for men in Kansas City, Missouri, is helping fewer people overcome addiction.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted Welcome House, a nonprofit located at 1414 East 27th Street, to create quarantine spaces, limit access to its programs and either make meetings smaller or cancel them, according to Jamie Boyle, Welcome House president and CEO.

Boyle said normally the facility could house around 80 men, but health precautions to keep people safe from the virus has reduced that amount to around 40.

“We’re just not able to serve all of the men that we could," Boyle said, "and my fear is trying to stop the spread of the disease, the virus is going to have a negative impact on the men that we are not able to serve and support in their addiction."

Micah Haen knows the affect Welcome House can have on an addict's life because he was one when he came to the house five years ago.

“I was a heavy drinker for a good 20 years," he said, "and it had pretty much taken its toll upon me physically, mentally, spiritually, everything was gone. By the time I got here, I was pretty much a shell.”

Now, Haen works at Welcome House as an addiction counselor. He said the people he works with have voiced concerns about COVID-19.

“The idea of getting sober right now petrifies people," Haen said. "But the idea of not doing anything is killing people.”

Boyle said lockdowns during the pandemic might have exposed people's addictions to alcohol or drugs that their families didn't know about before. He said when the pandemic ends, he knows the that his organization provides won't slow down.

“Whether they come to us now or they come to us six months from now -- or two years from now-- we’ll see them," Boyle said.

Those interested in learning more about Welcome House or its services can visit the nonprofit's website.

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