WALTER’S HOUSE: HOLDING, EDUCATING, SUPPORTING
Walter’s House is Fourth & Hope’s residential substance use disorder treatment program for men and women. This clinical program is certified by Medi-Cal and accredited by CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). On average, 250 people annually enter Walter’s House for treatment services and most of the clients are from Woodland and Yolo County, with some coming from out of county referrals such as the Veterans Administration (VA).
Clients include people who are homeless and in need of treatment and who enter the program from our emergency shelter services; others are referred by agency partners such as Yolo County Behavioral Health. A typical stay is 90 days, although this can be extended a little longer depending on individual needs. While on average 75 people successfully complete the 90-day program annually, others might be referred out to programs serving people with serious mental health needs that interfere with rehabilitation or may need long term therapy. We coordinate care with county agencies.
While Walter’s House has the capacity to serve 44 people, there are currently 30 people in the program due to COVID-19. The pandemic has prompted some operational changes. Social distancing is now being enforced in group sessions that happen outside where possible. Masks are required on the campus at all times, and new hand sanitizing stations have been installed. Meals are eaten outside, and meal call is handled room by room to deter large groups gathering in the kitchen/dining room. While new clients are being admitted, a strict quarantine protocol has been implemented.
A typical day at Walter’s House begins at 6:30 a.m., followed by chores, breakfast, a morning group therapy session, lunch, an afternoon group therapy session, dinner, and an evening group session. Clients meet weekly one on one with a counselor and additional individual counseling is available daily if needed.
“Many of our clients have been using for a while and work on the challenge of finding out who they are – without substance use. We support this process by laying a foundation that starts with sticking to a routine, following a schedule to allow for increased time and energy to look internally, and make needed changes,” said Kali C. Paredes, Clinic Director, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT).
Most clients are looking for normalcy – and they work hard to achieve it. Getting a job, keeping a job, staying clear of the law, paying rent – are the normal life activities Walter’s House clients want to experience. Sometimes clients enter the program and may not be quite ready for the challenge, and choose to leave on their own.
Clinic director Paredes said that clients realize they want to do this for their children, family member, the court, or other reason. It can be difficult, particularly for clients who come from a culture of inter-generational substance use, and have parents or other close family members who are still using. The Walter’s House program works to prompt that personal insight.
“We are doing our best to create a structure, to assist clients to build a sense of normalcy, support them in their personal goals, and thrive in the community while holding, educating, and supporting them,” said clinic director Paredes.
Walter’s House opened in 2007 and is named after Walter Zeck, a founder of the program. For more information about Walter’s House, visit fourthandhope.org. If you or someone you know needs help with finding treatment and mental health services, contact the Yolo County Behavioral Health Access Line 888-965-6647