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Local Non-Profit Coffee House Helps Homeless And Drug Addicts Stay Off Streets
By: Bob Moffitt
Can coffee and muffins help Sacramento's homeless drug addicts get off the streets and stay clean and sober? A local non-profit says yes.
Hundreds of people drive by the TurnAround Coffee House on 7th Street every day. Many have no idea it's even there. Even fewer people know why it's there.
The TurnAround Coffee House has three goals: provide food and drinks to its customers, offer job skills and life skills to the volunteers who work there, and use any profits from the business to fund housing for homeless, recovering drug addicts.
On this day, Jessica Chapple is working the counter. A short time ago, she was living next door to the coffee house in the Sacramento County Jail.
"Well, 90 days ago, I was an addict on drugs and I went to jail," says Chapple. "Growing up, I've been on my own since I was 11 years old. My parents are both drug addicts. So, unfortunately I grew up very early."
When she got out, she entered Clean & Sober Homeless Recovery Communities — a non-profit with 10 town homes and 65 beds for homeless addicts. Chapple can stay there for as long as she wants until she's ready to re-enter society. In exchange for room, board, counseling and job training, she volunteers at TurnAround.
She's grateful for how the program has helped turn her life around.
"It helps me to be able to re-enter to society and be able to maintain a productive life," says Chapple. "It helps me to realize that I am a human being who's worth something and I can be taught a new skill so I can better enrich my life and be able to take care of myself and not depend on any government programs."
She plans to attend culinary school, open her own business and, in turn, send a good chunk of her profits to Clean and Sober HRC.
Much of what she's learned has come from Crystal Urech — manager and a graduate of the program.
"I grew up living in abandoned houses and in cars and actually digging in dumpsters to feed my little brother as a child and through that I got an addiction because it helps you stay awake and I was like when I was a teenager, I was scared to go to sleep because I was afraid I would get raped so I ended up using methamphetamine and it became a really bad habit. It destroyed a lot of my life," Urech says.
Urech had never managed a restaurant, but she had experience as a waitress. After she completed her stay in the program, the non-profit hired her to open and run the coffee house.
TurnAround has been open for two years, and is breaking even. But breaking even doesn't buy more town homes.
Urech also says she's always thinking of new ways to attract more customers.
"Now, we have ice cream, starting Friday," says Urech. "Cones, cups, shakes, you know, I'm just trying new things and trying new things and sending out hundreds of fliers out into downtown so that everybody knows what's new."
Word of the coffee house and its goals seem to be spreading, albeit slowly.
Jason Hernandez has been working nearby on the new G Street extension.
"I've been in here quite a bit over the last few months," says Hernandez. "It's actually pretty cool to see a lot of people coming in and out of here and it's nice to see. It's nice to know that when I spend my money, it goes somewhere in the community instead of walking down to Starbucks and then it goes somewhere else."
About 75 percent of the people who enter the Clean and Sober HRC program are there at least 90 days. The program takes no federal money and allows people back into the program if they relapse. It accepts only what a person can afford to pay - which, often, is nothing.
About 80 percent of volunteers at the coffee house go on to find employment.
Book of Dreams: Holiday party brightens lives of Clean & Sober residents, alumni
By Deb Kollars
Special to The Bee
By Deb Kollars The
Sacramento BeLast modified:
Published: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 10A
Copyright 2013 The
Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistrib
For years, the Clean & Sober holiday party was a chance to celebrate
and encourage sobriety and help heal the wounds of drug and alcohol addiction. This year, because
of a shortage in donations, the annual event almost didn't happen. But thanks to Book of Dreams readers, a grateful crowd of 200 gathered earlier this month for an evening of good food and heartfelt reflection at
Fremont Presbyterian Church in east Sacramento.The party brought together current and former
the Clean & Sober program, their family and friends, and staff members. For some, it was the first time they had reunited with loved ones in many years. "I don't even remember last year's Christmas," said Jessie Rojas, 32, recalling his addiction to methamphetamine and alcohol. "That's how bad I was. Now I have 90 days clean." On this December night, Rojas was joined by 16 relatives, including a grandmother he once robbed under the influence of drugs. In August, after losing his job and living on the streets, he found the Clean & Sober program, which provides housing and 12-step recovery support for homeless people working to end their addictions. The program emphasizes self-help in a supportive community and has served the Sacramento area for 18 years.
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New Executive Director
Clean & Sober is pleased to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, Mark Teeley. Mark brings 20 years of management experience in the social services field. He has extensive hands-on experience serving the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, and the disinfranchised. He is a "summa cum laude" graduate of Central Washington University with BA Degrees in Sociology and in Law & Justice.
Moved to Our New Facilities
Our need for more space is over! We have moved into a new location right next to our previous offices (just one suite over).
We are pleased to announce the arrival of new volunteers. Now we have reinforcements for our projects!
Our New Website is Online
We are excited about our new enhanced website and online presence. Browse our new website to learn more about our organization.