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Sober living house remodel underway

POLSON – Work on a sober living house is progressing, and that has licensed addiction counselor Jay Brewer hopeful for a spring opening, if not sooner. 

Brewer, 54, is a former drug addict who, along with others from the One Heart Committee, is looking to provide a safe place before and after drug treatment for addicts. 

It’s been a year and a half since the committee began working on a sober living house. 

Paperwork that will allow the committee to lease the former Black Bear Ranch for $1 a year from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes is in the works, Brewer said. 

The 399-acre ranch at 649 Far West Road, about 10 miles north of Hot Springs, has been renamed Kuki A’kilwiy, or One Heart, although the sign hasn’t been changed yet. 

One of the reasons that Brewer and One Heart Committee members are anxious to get started is because people continue to die. Brewer said he knows of four teens or young adults who have died over the past year either due to drug overdoses or suicides. He said the ranch, which includes several buildings, is being remodeled. 

Brewer and Levi Hewankorn, who will serve as the ranch manager, would like to open the main house as soon as possible, Brewer said. The remaining remodeling work can be done while the main house is full of clients, he said. 

The sober living house – which will serve men and women – will use a holistic approach and involve clients’ family members. Levi’s wife Bonnie plans to team up with him as house manager. Brewer notes that the sober living house aims to train clients in life skills. 

A $350,000 federal Department of Justice grant for Lake County’s nascent drug court is contingent on a sober living house being part of the equation. 

The drug court, which began in April thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Gianforte Family Foundation, now includes six or seven clients, said Brewer, who opened his business at 201 Fourth Ave. E. in late June in the back of District Court Judge James A. Manley’s former law office. Hopes are that the drug court will eventually serve 30 to 40 people at any given time.

 

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