The unexpected gift of a vacant building means a drop-in addictions centre in Carbonear may soon be able to realize its dream of starting a transition house for people leaving short-term drug rehab programs. 

"I'm pretty excited this morning," said U-Turn's executive director Jeff Bourne.

Bourne said he was approached about a month ago by Blair and Tim Lane, the owners of a vacant retirement home in the nearby town of Victoria.

Kitchen and bathroom

The new facility will help people coming out of a treatment centre transition back in the community. (Clarke Real Estate Ltd. website)

"They heard about our vision of having a transitional house and they wanted to donate the building to us," said Bourne.

"We're going down a whole new avenue now."

Support critical for success

Bourne said the plan is to start with four to six residents and build up to 20 or 30 over time. Time spent in a transition house is vitally important to a recovering addict's overall success, he added.

"If you take someone after 28 days and put them back in the same playground, eventually they're going to play ball." - Jeff Bourne

"The stats say 90 days is very crucial in somebody's early recovery and they say 6 months to a year treatment after [that], there's a 65 percent success rate that people will stay clean and sober," said Bourne.

"If you take someone after 28 days and put them back in the same playground, eventually they're going to play ball."

The 13,000-square foot building needs only minor renovations, and if approved by the town, the transition house could be operational in about six months.

Bourne said U-Turn has outgrown its current location in Carbonear, and the drop-in centre will likely move to the basement of the new building.

Hallway and living room

The property will need minor cosmetic renovations, new furniture and appliances. (Clarke Real Estate Ltd. website)

A public consultation session is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Victoria Community Centre, and Bourne said he's confident he will be able to ease any fears people may have about recovering drug addicts moving into the area.

"One person in the community approached me and said, 'I'd sooner people be in a transitional house than some of the people that's roaming around in active addiction, that you don't know what they're going to do to get their fix.'

"At least the people in that building, you know they're clean and sober." 

With files from the St. John's Morning Show