Monroe Dispatch - No Struggle, No Progress

Defunct Social Program Seeks New Life


October 31, 2019

The Extra Mile Region 8 was a social program designed to help those who are marginalized by society, having nowhere else to turn to when they needed help. The organization was funded through North East Delta, as it also had several other programs that were instrumental in helping to prevent people from slipping through the cracks such as homeless people who had no place to go. The biggest program that Extra Mile was involved, was Peer Support. This program not only had a hand in helping the homeless, but it reached out to those that had substance abuse and mental health issues. It sounded like a “win-win” for the community. It did, until June 30 of this year. According to Christopher Hughes, Extra Mile was founded to help people that was referred(known as “referrals”) to them by NE Delta, to give them the help that they needed. Hughes said that those who came in “had someone to talk to” no matter what their problems were. It didn’t matter if someone had a gambling or smoking issue, (as in to go the extra mile),The Extra Mile was there for them. But when they got word that the program in its’ entirety was going to close, there was confusion throughout the organization. Hughes said that they were meeting their commitments from the referrals that were sent to them from NE Delta. They even stayed within their budgets, never going over any of them. But all of a sudden, the people that were referred to The Extra Mile stopped coming. At one time said Hughes, they allegedly only got two referrals for an entire year. What made things more complicated for The Extra Mile, was that no one within the organization could recruit people on their own. They had to go through NE Delta, which was perplexing to Hughes and those that worked with him. According to Hughes, an “integrated network” of places was in place where those that came to Hughes’ group was pre-determined, as in a hospital network, from places selected by NE Delta. How could they stay in operation if their “source” of referrals was being kept from them, Hughes and those that worked with him wondered. If there are no more referrals coming in, then the funding stops and the organization ceased to exist. The only communication that they received, according to Hughes was a letter advising them that the program was going to close. There weren’t any performing issues cited, no abuse of funds, as operations were suspended and eventually closed. Hughes said that his group reached out to the Mayo administration, but nothing came out of the meeting. There was talk that Peer Support would re-open at their 511 Bres address, as those that received help, now have nowhere to go. The upcoming holiday season will be especially tough for them, says Hughes. Hughes said, “that the blame is not on Peer Support, but on those at NE Delta, who never took the time for site visits, nor did anyone associated with them attend any of the social(banquet)functions done by Peer Support.” Hughes says that a lot of people will suffer, especially those that have mental health problems. He said that “we” can address all other issues, but not mental health, as just about all communities have mental health or homeless issues. Hughes is hoping that their work can be saved and they can go back to serving the community. If anyone wants to support or lend a helping hand in any kind of way, please contact Peer Support at [email protected]


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