An Ottawa agency that counsels families facing both substance abuse and mental health issues may be forced to close its doors this spring due to lack of funding.
Serenity Renewal for Families has been operating without a permanent source of annual funding since 2010.
Ann Carmichael, executive director for the agency, said Serenity Renewal offers the city's only local programs to help preteens waiting for psychiatric help, as well as long-term recovery following drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs.
“All the issues that they were, maybe, self-medicating to deal with — it could be anger, it could be trauma — those things still have to be dealt with,” she said. “I don't know where the people will go.”
Serenity Renewal has operated in Ottawa since 1983.
Historically, most of its $600,000 annual budget has been funded by the Congregation of Notre Dame, but that core funding dried up five years ago. The Champlain Local Health Integration Network has stepped in twice with one-time funding, but that will only keep the agency open until May.
Carmichael said it’s difficult to imagine turning away clients.
“They've already been through trauma and such monumental issues in their lives. Without sustainable funding our lifespan is limited. Time is not on our side,” she said.
No one from Champlain was available for comment.