More than 30 years ago, concerned Californians in Yolo County began addressing the needs of the homeless in their community: they partnered with local churches and started a soup kitchen. In 1985, the volunteers decided that a soup kitchen would not suffice and what became Fourth and Hope was born. This organization now operates multiple programs that all aim to provide food, shelter and new life paths for the homeless and indigent in Woodland and Yolo counties. Walter’s House, Fourth and Hope’s residential treatment home for men and women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, is in downtown Woodland, a 30-minute drive from Sacramento. Walter’s House has three primary goals for clients—sustained sobriety, employment and stable housing—and it claims a 60 percent success rate.
Accommodations and Food
Walter’s House is located in a quiet residential neighborhood and accommodates up to 44 people in shared, gender-segregated rooms. Bedding and linens are all provided. If clients arrive without toiletries and little to wear, they are provided with vouchers and sent to the Fourth and Hope store to get whatever they need. Clients participate in making their own meals and eat as a group, sometimes grilling outside.
Some clients stay for just 30 days, but Walter’s House recommends at least 90 days of residential treatment for optimal results. There is no on-site medical detox, but staff can provide clients who intend to come to Walter’s House with the detox information they may need.
Individual therapy is not part of the program here; life at Walter’s House operates on a therapeutic community model. Residents are accountable to one another, meaning that telling on one another for breaking the rules is par for the course. Rules include maintaining abstinence from drugs and alcohol, showing up for group therapy, completing chores and being respectful to other clients. Life at Walter’s House is highly structured, with a weekday therapeutic schedule like a full-time job. Clients wake up at 6:30 am, complete their assigned chores, have breakfast and attend two groups before noon. Two more groups follow lunch and two more follow dinner. Bedtime is 10 pm, on the dot.
Groups rotate between lectures on drug and alcohol addiction, relapse prevention, anger management, distorted thinking, spirituality and combating low self-esteem. Fourth and Hope is a Christian organization. There is no discrimination against clients who are not practicing Christians, but the example of Jesus Christ is an underlying and important part of this organization’s identity. On Sunday, Bible studies are offered, but are not mandatory. AA and NA meetings are also held on Sundays; alumni will often come back and speak to current residents. After two weeks at Walter’s House, clients are free to attend local 12-step meetings off campus any day of the week.
When a client completes the Walter’s House program, Fourth and Hope suggests he or she participate in three months of aftercare, which may mean periodic attendance at groups or coming by for meals to maintain the connection to a support group.
Walter’s House can only take in residents of Yolo County, but there’s a loophole here: a client can stay in Yolo County for just a night and be eligible. The waiting list can be extensive, weeks or months even, but clients who can pay for even a portion of their care (there is a sliding scale option) will get a bed that much faster. Admittance may be tricky, but Walter’s House runs a tight ship and offers a lot of supervision for men and women looking for intensive recovery and sober community.
Fourth and Hope: Walter’s House
265 Fourth St
Woodland, CA 95776
Fourth and Hope: Walter’s House Cost: $2,250 (30 days). Reach Fourth and Hope: Walter’s House by phone at (530) 661-1218 or by email at mailto:[email protected]. Reach Fourth and Hope: Walter’s House on Facebook
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