Like schools, churches, businesses, restaurants and just about every government agency, Owensboro substance abuse treatment providers have had to change their normal operating practices to continue operating under the threat of the coronavirus epidemic.

While residential treatment programs are remaining open, some have stopped taking new clients. Programs at Owensboro Regional Recovery, Boulware Mission, Friends of Sinners and Lighthouse Recovery have barred most visitors.

Sarah Adkins, director of Owensboro Regional Recovery, said the agency is still taking clients who need a place to stay.

“Our staff is coming in and out, and we have to allow that. We also have a mission to serve people who are homeless,” Adkins said. “We are still taking clients, because we don’t want them to be homeless.”

ORR is asking questions about new clients’ health upon their arrival.

“We are doing the CDC recommended screenings,” Adkins said. “That’s what we are doing today. Things may change.”

Clients are allowed to leave the facility to walk the nearby Greenbelt trail, but are not allowed to go anywhere but the trail.

“They can definitely stay 6 feet apart on the Greenbelt,” Adkins said.

Leigha Taylor, executive director of the Boulware Mission, said its in-house treatment program is still continuing. But Boulware Mission officials have stopped taking clients for the homeless shelter, because the shelter has residents who could be vulnerable to COVID-19.

“We are on lockdown right now. We aren’t allowing anyone to leave,” Taylor said. “For the time being, we have stopped taking any new clients.

“We have several (clients) living here who are in the high-risk category,” Taylor said.

Jordan Wilson, development director for Friends of Sinners, said the agency has stopped sending clients to outside classes. The coronavirus outbreak has affected the organization financially, Wilson said.

“Not all of our clients are able to go to work,” Wilson said. The $95 a month working clients pay in rent to live at Friends of Sinners is part of the organization’s budget.

“Obviously, we aren’t going to get rid of them,” Wilson said.

ORR is also not letting visitors into the building.

ORR has four working clients living at its facility. Because the agency wants to limit clients going to public places and then returning to ORR, officials are trying to raise funds and find resources to place working clients in housing outside the facility, Adkins said.

Classes that would have been taught by someone coming into the facility are now being taught by video, Adkins said.

Derrick Arthur, executive director of Lighthouse Recovery, said the agency has 30 live-in clients, plus clients who no longer live on-site but come back for meetings Arthur said officials in the process of notifying off-site clients that people won’t be allowed to come into the facility for two weeks.

“We’ve started with classes going on video,”Arthur said. “We are going to talk to them over the phone, video, anything to get the resources they need.”

The agency is not taking new clients, except for ones that have been guaranteed a bed through court, Arthur said. Visitors won’t be allowed, but classes can be taught by the staff that live at the facility, Arthur said.

Lighthouse clients who work will be allowed to go to work, but nowhere else. Like Wilson at Friends of Sinners, Arthur said there is also a concern of lost revenue if clients lose jobs because of the coronavirus’ affect on the economy.

“Half of them (with jobs) have been laid off temporarily,” Arthur said.

All of the agencies contacted said they are in need of donations of cleaning supplies, food items and cash.

“With the current economic situation and people being out of work, we fear what that’s going to do to our donations” Taylor said. “Money is a need. We still have to pay” salaries, Taylor said.

In terms of supplies, “We need all the things people are rushing out to the stores to buy,” Taylor said.

Adkins said, “When everyone stays home, your grocery bill goes up, and your cleaning supplies get used more.”

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

BOX INFO

Local substance abuse treatment programs are in need of food, cleaning supplies, paper products such as napkins and toilet paper and monetary donations. To make a donation of physical items, please call the center the organization in advance to arrange for delivery while maintaining social distancing.

Boulware Mission — call 270-683-8267, or donate online at boulwaremission.org

Lighthouse Recovery — call 270-698-4025, or make an online donation at lighthouserecoveryservicesinc.org

Friends of Sinners — call development director Jordan Wilson at 270-244-4904. Donations can also be made at friendofsinners.org.

Owensboro Regional Recovery — 270-689-0905, or donate at www.audubon-area.com/owensbororegionalrecovery.html

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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