KEARNS (News4Utah) - Starting Monday, Valley Behavioral Health (VBH) will be able to take in more clients battling substance abuse, homelessness, and mental illness for their ValleyEPIC program.
The expansion was made possible by the Targeted Adult Medicaid Waiver. ValleyCORE already has two existing programs in Salt Lake that currently house 16 individuals in each home, one for males and one for females. While similar, ValleyEPIC has been designed as a much larger campus with similar structures and treatment approaches, but staff say, it is not the same as the ValleyCORE program.
Between those two programs, VBH has close to 140 clients on waiting lists. The waiver provided funding that allows staff to add 78 more beds in three more buildings at their Kearns campus.
"The purpose of this is to address that direct need. Because as they're identifying the need, the waiting list has just become longer. The jail beds have been filled," said Rebecca Brown, Senior Business Director for Valley Behavioral Health.
The average length of stay for one client is about six months.
Angela Cervantes is a success story of VBH's Co-Occurring Reentry & Empowerment (CORE) program and is celebrating one year since graduating. She began using meth when she was 11 years old and for the first time in 22 years, she's been clean for 28 months.
"I'm just grateful to have CORE in my life. Because if it wasn't for CORE, I'd probably be in prison," said Cervantes.
Luke Boyce is months away from graduation after battling substance abuse for 17 years. He's been with VBH for 7 months.
"I used everything, including heroin, meth, crack, cocaine, alcohol, spice...anything I could get my hands on, "said Boyce.
He said he began turning his life around after facing the possibility of seven years in prison.
"I saw someone who was desperate and angry, blamed the world for his problems. But now I see a happy kid who has goals, things to look forward to. He's happy to be with family," said Sarah Marchand, Luke's mother.
Boyce said after graduation, he plans on continuing writing a book with the help of his mom, who is a self-published author.
Boyce and Marchand said one of their best things about the CORE program is their efforts in reconnecting clients with their loved ones.
"Families matter. Just because there's a kid that's on the lost end of the path doesn't mean you totally give up or they should totally give up on themselves," said Boyce.
VBH will continue their expansion with two more buildings, scheduled to open in February and March.
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