As most already know, Veterans Sanctuary unfortunately is no more. It ceased to be after a troubled ten months of operation last year. The building, which was the physical shell for a sophisticated therapeutic approach to treating our returning war veterans, both men and women, when they suffered from chronic addiction to drugs or alcohol and profound war-induced trauma, figuratively collapsed for lack of local county, state and federal government support – only the City of Allentown had assisted.
But a light still shines.
On 21 July, the Allentown Zoning Board approved Treatment Trends application to move the Halfway Home of the Lehigh Valley into the building. This is a fortunate occurrence for Treatment Trends, for it will allow the building to be once more used for the residential treatment, though not exclusively for veterans. It also allows the old Halfway Home on Eighth Street to be sold to help defray the debt that was incurred to renovate and operate Veterans Sanctuary.
However, that is only half the story. Despite a failure, Treatment Trends has remained steadfast in its commitment to serve veterans who need treatment for addiction and PTSD symptoms in some way. A recent grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs provides that opportunity. The funds for which were secured through the effort of Senator Pat Browne who understood the original driving need behind Veterans Sanctuary. This grant allows the establishment of a Veterans Treatment Track in all the organization’s programs (inpatient, halfway house, or outpatient). This specialized track offers easy access to levels of care Treatment Trends believes are not offered by the VA. And while veterans will not be treated in a building exclusively reserved for them or in the same numbers, some semblance of the Veterans Sanctuary concept will seemingly remain. Veterans are again afforded a treatment regimen that apparently does not exist elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
We hear tell that Treatment Trends wishes to thank the community, for without its support it could never have expected to transform the 24 South Fifth Street into a residential treatment facility. It has also demonstrated the resilience needed to adapt and carry on its mission to veterans. For that, we in the Lehigh Valley have to thank them.
As of 23 July 2014