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Center of Hope building now owned by facility operator

Mar 25, 2016 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

On July 1, 2013, VOA took over operations at the building formerly known as the Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center, expanding services and treatment offerings to clients.

The Center of Hope soon will be able to serve homeless individuals regardless of their level of intoxication or need for treatment.

Currently, the center only serves clients in need of treatment.

The City of Riverton has transferred the deed for the property at 223 W. Adams Ave. to the Volunteers of America-Northern Rockies - the group that operates the Center of Hope. With the deed in hand, the VOA plans to expand the facility and create room for chronically addicted homeless people, city staff said during a council meeting Tuesday.

2013 transition

On July 1, 2013, VOA took over operations at the building formerly known as the Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center, changing the name of the facility to the Center of Hope and expanding services and treatment offerings to clients.

Since the takeover, the center has handled more than 4,000 intakes, meaning the number of individuals receiving treatment has increased, and more clients go to residential and outpatient treatment.

Due to the growing numbers over the past two years, the VOA has spent more than $75K and made updates to the COH building.

The organization now plans to expand the facility at a cost of more than $500,000, city staff said.

VOA executive vice president for operations Heath Steel said the organization hoped to own the property before making such a large investment.

"It's kind of an adventure over there at the moment," Steel said.

Expansion plans

The VOA plans to extend the south side of the building and currently is working to locate the easements and right-of-ways, he explained.

"The building is going to run south a little ways and then turn west for the addition," Steel said.

The city initially believed it needed to put the building out to bid to be fair to all potential buyers, but after reviewing state law the city determined it could hand over the property to the VOA if the organization "supports the poor."

The deed does have a clause that states that if the VOA doesn't expand the building by at least 1,000 square feet in five years, the property goes back to the city.

City staff recommended the Riverton City Council approve the agreement.

All council members voted in favor of the move. The city now is relieved of any future liability on the property and no longer is responsible for maintenance and repairs.

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