Based in Washington DC, Neighbors’ Consejo is a non-profit organization providing free services for under-served members of the community. For more than two decades, Neighbors’ Consejo has provided culturally sensitive mental health care and substance abuse treatment.
In 1994, Neighbors’ Consejo began treatment in a church basement and has since grown thanks to donations from private parties and grants from government agencies. The structured residential substance abuse treatment program is gender specific for men and available for both Spanish-speaking and native English speakers. A step down option to outpatient treatment is also available upon completion of primary care.
Accommodations and Food
Residents are accommodated in a three-story brownstone building that facilitates both treatment and housing, but the men do travel to the outpatient facility to attend groups and special treatment activities. A total of 10 men are enrolled in treatment at a time, each living in their own room sharing a bathroom with the other residents on their floor. Linens, towels and some toiletries are provided.
Common areas in the house include a multimedia room, kitchen, laundry room and balcony. The living room has a TV and a video library for residents to enjoy during down time. The kitchen is stocked with food (provided by government funding) and residents are responsible for preparing their own meals as well as packing snacks for off-site activities at the outpatient facility. Coffee and tea are served throughout the day. No personal belongings are allowed.
Treatment and Staff
The word consejo translates to “council,” communicating to the Spanish-speaking community that there is accessible help for those who want to change their lives. Neighbors’ Consejo aims to provide a healthy community focused on recovery and personal growth. The residential facility is certified by the Department of Health as a Community Residential Facility (CRF) and supported by government funding. Individuals who are unable to pay are given priority for enrollment. Walk-in clients as well as those with appointments are welcome and all potential clients must be assessed prior to admission to determine whether support for co-occurring disorders is required as well as the acuity of addiction.
The residential program lasts three to six months in total. Clients are given dual diagnosis support, mental health support and general health care. If needed, a Psychiatrist is available who specializes in medication management. Case management is an important part of recovery at Neighbors’ Consejo, ensuring that each client has an individualized treatment program. Counselors and clinical staff deliver treatment that is ethical, language-driven and respectful towards varying cultures and beliefs. Staff utilize evidence-based treatment as well as somatic experiencing to help clients recover and work through the bodily manifestations of trauma. Residents attend both group and individual therapy throughout treatment.
Attendance of peer support groups like 12-step meetings is required in order to maintain residence. Additionally, clients are introduced to Access to Recovery (ATR), a federally funded program that provides vocational services, housing and transportation assistance to and from the facility and work. Neighbors’ Consejo works diligently to help clients develop their life skills so they may re-enter the community. All of these services are facilitated by mental health professionals with credentials that include LDACs, Psychiatrists and Physicians.
Clients in the residential program are expected to develop themselves as individuals and productive members of society. Skills training and vocational training sessions help them to discover their natural talents and abilities. By keeping a structured schedule and building a positive community, the goal behind the residential program is for the men to build a new life.
Neighbors’ Consejo offers a residential program for men who may be having trouble accessing quality care due to financial limitations. Clients may live at the house for three to six months, depending on their progress. The treatment team provides daily structure and lead therapeutic groups and individual sessions at the main outpatient clinic nearby. Vocational and skill building services are emphasized to help turn the men into productive members of society, ready for life and lasting sobriety outside of treatment.
3118 16th St NW
Washington DC 20010
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Photo courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)