In these challenging and unprecedented times, I want to share an update on how Communities For Recovery is continuing to adapt our services and support in the midst of the pandemic. While the news may focus on COVID-19, we know that isolation, financial hardship, anxiety, and stress all threaten the recovery and wellness of our community. Our staff and volunteers continue to innovate and adapt our services to help people stay connected and get the support they need to remain healthy and well.

As many of you may know, we were required to close our center’s physical space indefinitely due to its location on the Austin State Hospital campus. Because of this change, we are transitioning from a center-based approach to a more decentralized community-based set of services. We are hopeful this will prove to be an effective way to engage people and allow us to continue to provide much needed recovery supports throughout the community of Austin.

We have invested in software and equipment to transition the majority of in person meetings to video and phone conferencing. We have also purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) and implemented safety protocols required to provide in-person services. Using Zoom video conferencing and YouTube, our dedicated volunteers continue to facilitate and lead recovery meetings, yoga classes, mindfulness groups and more. Our Recovery Academy is now offering all of our classes using Zoom and will continue in this format well into 2021.

As we evolve into a more decentralized model, our community partnerships are more important than ever. Highlights include:

  • Coaches are meeting at community partner sites with small groups of peers in outside locations, with PPE, and physical distancing. We are also working on a hybrid meeting format that is offered through Zoom and also allows a small group of people to RSVP and attend in person.
  • We have staff providing coaching supports at the five City of Austin Prolodges created for homeless individuals at risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • In June, we initiated a program with University of Texas Dell Medical Center to provide coaching through referrals from their Buprenorphine Program (the B-Team) and Emergency Medical Services.Importantly, all of these innovations have allowed us to avoid any gaps in our services and resources to our recovery community throughout this challenging time.We have all experienced a tremendous amount of change to our daily lives this past seven months. This has created new opportunities and challenges. To say it has been stressful is an understatement. I am personally grateful for the friends and colleagues who have sent messages of encouragement and support.

    Looking forward, we will continue to do whatever we can to support the recovery community here in Central Texas. We thank you for your continued support of Communities For Recovery and wish you good health.