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Detox in planning stages for expansion

The man had been successful in the construction industry, earning millions of dollars along the way. An addiction to pain medication, though, left him homeless and seemingly helpless.

That’s when the Dakota County Receiving Center in Hastings got the call, and they had a bed available for the man. Six to eight months later, the man was back on his feet, he was a patient at a pain management clinic and his life was back in order.

It’s success stories like that one that Rick Terzick likes to share most. He is the executive director at the DCRC, which takes up two buildings on the grounds of what is now known as the Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings.

The program even earned an award from the county a few months ago for placing 39 clients in long-term, permanent housing during 2012.

But the age of the buildings housing the programs at DCRC is showing. The buildings weren’t designed for their current use, and these factors have prompted Terzick and the staff at DCRC to begin discussions about expanding and/or moving.

“We need a new facility that is more efficient,” Terzick said, “but I’m not wanting to move away from the area.”

A waiting list is in place for the programs offered by the DCRC, Terzick said.

“The need is there,” he said.

Staff is in the planning stages for such an expansion, Terzick said. He acknowledged it will be a long process and no timetable has been set for such a change.

The four programs

So what happens at DCRC? Good question. The Dakota County Receiving Center has four distinct programs.

Here is more information on each of them.

• One is the Cochran Recovery Program, a 42-bed program for patients who have mental illnesses and chemical dependency.

The program lasts between 21 days and 128 days. The last few weeks of treatment always includes a plan for continued care, “so that integration back is smooth, rather than fragmented,” case manager Jason Walter said.

The program typically costs between $10,000 to $15,000 for a full stay. The fees are paid either by insurance, the clients themselves or, when the client is below the poverty level, taxpayers via a federal fund.

• The second program is a 27-bed detox center. Patients from surrounding counties (not including Dakota County) are taken there to dry out. In many cases, patients are brought in by law enforcement personnel. The patients are typically found in their respective communities without anyone to care for them.

In the past, the patients would be in detox for 48 hours and would then just be sent home at the end of those two days. These days, most people in detox are assessed prior to leaving, especially those who have been in the facility before.

• The third program is a group residential housing unit that helps 39 men who would be homeless otherwise. Many come from the Dakota County jail. If an inmate gets out and doesn’t have anywhere to go, he can be referred to the program. Violent offenders are not housed in Hastings. Only non-violent offenders are housed here.

Patients may stay in the group residential housing unit for up to two years. Most are transitioned to permanent housing.

While in the facility here, they get basic job skills assistance and help with things like earning their GEDs, filling out job applications and writing resumes.

• Lastly, an outpatient program exists for ongoing counseling and support.

The clients

Walter is one of a diverse group of counselors and staff at the facility, which employs 60 people and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The clients Walter works with come from all over the state.

“We take the toughest clients,” Walter said. “Clients who have been kicked out of the other programs. We give them a shot here.”