By Jessica Caimi
When Sun Street Centers opened its second location in Hollister last year, the program already provided a safe, sober living environment for men and women who needed access to healthy living options after they completed a substance abuse treatment program.
But now, Anna Foglia, chief executive officer of Sun Street Centers, wants the opportunity to provide actual substance abuse treatment, not just after-treatment, to those in need. Foglia recently kicked off a three-month fundraising campaign that aims to raise enough money for Sun Street to purchase a third property in Hollister. That new property, a Victorian on Sixth Street, would be used to establish San Benito County’s first drug and alcohol treatment center for women.
“What we’re doing now is a sober living environment,” says Foglia. Sun Street Centers’ two Hollister locations, located off San Benito Street, are open to people who have completed drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs but need a safe base from which to reestablish ties with their friends and family. “You have to understand that when people are in the throes of recovery, they can’t always go home,” says Foglia. “Home might be where the problem is. The old lifestyle can be a hindrance to recovery.”
Currently, Sun Street Centers in Hollister provides an residential option for those who cannot return home. One location is already home to six men. The other is home to eight women in recovery, along with three of their children.
As both properties have been operating at full capacity, Foglia said it’s a good time to expand beyond after-treatment programs. She says there’s a need for treatment services in San Benito County. “There are long waiting lists in places like Salinas for [drug and alcohol] treatment programs for women,” she says.
Foglia also says that she’s had calls from fathers and husbands from as far away as San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. These men are looking for a program to help the women in their lives, suggesting that this demand doesn’t exist in San Benito County. But it’s especially hard for local residents to find treatment program options that cater to women. “It just doesn’t exist in San Benito County at this time,” says Foglia.
Sun Street Centers recently hosted a spring fling fundraiser called Taste of the South that kicked off the campaign to raise the funds necessary to purchase a new property. They need to raise $750,000 to make the home purchase, but at minimum, Foglia hopes to raise at least $250,000 for a down payment.
“We raised $20,000 at our first event,” says Foglia. Guests at the event were invited by those who know Sun Street’s mission and care about the issues. “I thought it was amazing,” Foglia says. “Our advertising was all word of mouth.”
In the coming weeks, Sun Street Centers is hosting a campaign on Razoo, in which all donations will be matched by the Community Foundation for San Benito County and Monterey Peninsula Foundations grants. Additionally, donations for the building fund are accepted by the Community Foundation for San Benito County any time as a part of Give San Benito.
Foglia said she believes that San Benito County residents will continue to support the project. “This is a great opportunity for people to give locally and have their money grow,” she says.