The success of the Bielkiewicz House is driven by mandating community support connections and continuing to hold graduates accountable for 12 months after they depart. MHA made a conscious choice to not take HUD funding or any other funding sources that would not allow Bielkiewicz staff to hold residents accountable for sobriety and employment. Without those requirements there would simply be a revolving door or a lifetime of dependence on government or familial monetary support. MHA’s program is therefore unique in the Baton Rouge area as it has high accountability and there is no cost to the residents or requirement of insurance or Medicaid. It is the only program of its kind in Baton Rouge.
While in the program, residents
have rigorous rules;
Work the 12-step program
Seek an experienced and dedicated sponsor
Attend community substance abuse meetings such as AA or NA
Pass periodic drug screenings
Participate in all in-house education or support meetings
Seek or re-engage in full-time employment
Save 80% of earnings and budget the remaining 20%
Use savings to repay any outstanding court costs or related debts
Stay in contact with caseworker for 12 months following departure
Why is this program important?
Residents are required to save 80% of their wages. MHA holds the money for residents unless it is determined the best use is to pay outstanding court fees. At the time of departure, the caseworker helps clients determine the best and highest use of the savings including purchase of transportation, deposit for an apartment or utilities and furnishings for a new home. Not charging residents rent is one of the many aspects that separates the MHA program from others in the area. Residents have very few expenses while staying in the AHRC as they receive three meals daily and do not pay any expenses for housing or household needs. Providing the job readiness skills and the other life skills stops the cycle of dependency and opens up the possibilities for future independent living and gives these residents a pathway to success.
How do we evaluate this program?
MHA conducts pre- and post-residency surveys of all participants to quantify the impact of the program. MHA also monitors behavior, community and programmatic connectivity and employment status for a year after residents depart AHRC. MHA tracks the following.
- 6 month and 12 month sobriety rate
- 12 month employment rate
- Resident savings
- Recidivism rate
- Knowledge gained about personal condition
- Participant satisfaction