Veteran’s Day – Rides for Recovery

by | Nov 8, 2017 | Industry News | 0 comments

For 56 years, Heartland House has provided quality residential drug and alcohol recovery to men. Our multi-dimensional treatment program is tailored to each individual using evidence-based therapy models.

We are 1 of only 2 residential recovery facilities in San Diego contacted with the Veterans Administration (VA). Over 46% of our residents are veterans, with intense medical and behavioral health needs. More than 60% have disabilities; 85% concern mental health or mobility challenges.

Currently, our veteran residents newly sober and in the early stage of treatment travel 18 miles to the VA Medical Center in La Jolla (on average 3 times weekly) for appointments. The VA provides a shuttle for the first 60 days of recovery, but trips take up to 2 hours each way, men can wait hours to return, and be stranded when appointments run after 3 PM. After 60 days, vets must self-pay for a nearly two-hour public transit trip. Such travel barriers cause men to be gone from Heartland House all day, return exhausted and stressed, and miss onsite program and social model components that are critical to recovery and building resilience to relapse.

Utilizing public transportation has additional risks. Many times, residents run into old acquaintances while at transit centers or changing buses in downtown to get to their scheduled appointments. They may be offered drugs and/or alcohol. Limiting exposure to “old ways of thinking” can only increase the chance of success.

The Rides for Recovery project will provide veterans residing at Heartland House with direct transportation to address matters key to their recovery: attending medical appointments, seeking employment, reconnecting with family, and addressing outstanding legal issues.

Through Rides for Recovery, we will use on-demand ride services through a third party vendor (Lyft, Uber) to provide timely, direct transport for veteran residents to medical appointments for the full term of their stay so they fully participate in our recovery program. Rides will also be provided for job interviews, to address legal issues, and reconnect with family – all critical component to preventing relapse.

Our proposed outcomes center on veterans being more engaged in their recovery and remaining in the program — actions that both support recovery and long-term sobriety.

We’d like to thank the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and their Patriot’s Connection fund for making this program possible!