<h1 class='title'>The Gateway Update</h1>

The Gateway Update

 

January 2020

Metro Drug Coalition received the best Christmas present ever… on December 23, we closed on our building! This 22,500 square foot building will house MDC’s headquarters and The Gateway recovery center. We will soon begin renovations at our new location, 530 West Fifth Ave.

 

 

 

In December, Mayor Madeline Rogero proposed and Knoxville City Council approved a one-time, $250,000 capital grant to MDC for The Gateway at the December 3, 2019 City Council meeting. You can read more about this grant here. MDC also received the Cigna Foundation Healthier Communities Grant funding for $80,871.00. This grant will specifically focus on recovery coaching within The Gateway.

We cannot express how much this means to our organization to receive funding for the work that will happen at The Gateway!

We have currently raised $347,000 for our capital campaign. We still have a significant amount to raise to make this dream a reality. We have increased our total capital campaign budget to 2.2 million dollars. We have adjusted the budget based on structural issues identified through the inspection process.

MDC has continued work with BarberMcMury Architects and we now have a contractor, Rick Cox Construction. We are so thankful for their dedication to this project and look forward to working with them through this venture.

We will begin providing recovery coaching and All-Recovery meetings while funds are continuing to be raised to complete the entire project.  Additional services, such as music therapy, art therapy, fitness and family trainings will be added as space is renovated. If you are interested in attending this meeting or learning more, please contact Jason Goodman at jgoodman@metrodrug.org.

As a partner of MDC, if you have relationships with donors, please reach out to Metro Drug Coalition. We would love to connect with them and share our vision of The Gateway.

 

February 2020

The new year has started off great for The Gateway. MDC hosted our first All-Recovery meeting. The meetings take place at 530 West Fifth Ave every Saturday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. We also have started a mindfulness meditation class immediately following the all-recovery meeting from 3:15-3:45 p.m. If you have interest in attending either of these meetings, we invite you to join us!

MDC is proud to announce that Jason Goodman has transitioned roles to MDC’s Director of Recovery Support Services. In his new role, he will be responsible for the oversite of existing and additional peer recovery staff, including recovery coaches.  This will help lay the foundation for other support activities planned as The Gateway community center becomes operational.

MDC has received two grants, one from Cigna Foundation and will be receiving an additional grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in April called “Building Communities of Recovery” to support the expansion of recovery programs, such as recovery coaching, all recovery meetings and safe, sober social activities.  The Cigna grant is providing over $80,000 in 2020 and the SAMHSA grant is $200,000 per year for the next 3 years.  We cannot thank Cigna and SAMSHA enough as they help us move the vision of The Gateway forward.

We are working closely with Ryan Dobbs, with BMA and Rick Cox Construction as well as engineers from ESK to prepare a timeline for Phase I renovations. The next step is to secure a demolition permit through the City of Knoxville and submit the building renovation plans for approval.  In the meantime, the capital campaign is still underway, with an additional 1.5 million yet to be committed.

As a partner of MDC, if you have relationships with donors, please reach out to Metro Drug Coalition. We would love to connect with them and share our vision of The Gateway.

 

March 2020

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

On February 15 over 25 members of the community came together to help MDC clean up around The Gateway. We partnered with Choice Health Network to pick up and dispose of all the syringes found, then our volunteers spent their morning cleaning up our area.

After the cleanup, our Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist trained 14 individuals to carry naloxone. It is important for us not only to work on opening this recovery community center but also to leave our community better than we found it.

MDC is continuing the All-Recovery meeting at the building. The meetings take place at 530 West Fifth Ave every Saturday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. We also have started a mindfulness meditation class immediately following the all-recovery meeting from 3:15-3:45 p.m. If you have interest in attending either of these meetings, we invite you to join us!

Phase I of construction is slated to begin April 1. MDC’s Executive Director, Karen Pershing, has been meeting with our engineers and architects to get final plans approved and finalize layouts/interior finishes for the building.

We need the community’s support in helping MDC raise the remainder of Phase I. The sooner we can raise the appropriate amount, we can begin offering the full spectrum of services and trainings to assist individuals and families in the healing and rebuilding process.  There is not one person in this community who has not been touched by this disease and we cannot afford to stand by and turn a blind eye to both the economic and psychological toll this is having on our community.

As a partner of MDC, if you have relationships with donors, please reach out to Metro Drug Coalition. We would love to connect with them and share our vision of The Gateway.

 

 

April 2020

MDC is proud to assist the City of Knoxville and our other social service partners by filling a much needed gap for the homeless population in our community. We are temporarily putting The Gateway plans on hold to allow our building on West 5th Ave. to be a shelter space for homeless persons who have been tested for COVID-19. Please see information below regarding the plans to use The Gateway building as “The Guest House” below.

The City of Knoxville is working with community partners to establish a shelter space for homeless persons who have been tested for COVID-19.

The City has been working with service providers and the Knox County Health Department to identify a space, social supports and medical management for a safe, operational space.

Mayor Indya Kincannon said, “It’s important to note there are no confirmed cases in the homeless community right now in Knoxville, but we felt it was vitally important to have a designated place for those showing symptoms.  We are pleased so many community partners are joining forces to help open this shelter.”

The Metro Drug Coalition is providing their building on West 5th Avenue for shelter space, which will be called “The Guest House.” This building is the future home of the Gateway Recovery Community Center and has enough space to accommodate 18 people, following appropriate social distancing and infection control guidelines.

Metro Drug Coalition Executive Director Karen Pershing said, “Metro Drug Coalition is extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable populations in our community. The social service agencies have been working collaboratively to identify how to best continue services, while adhering to CDC guidelines. The homeless population is one of the most challenging and MDC has a vacant building near the homeless corridor that we believe can help fill a critical gap in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among this population by offering the space to our homeless service providers. All available resources need to be utilized in times like these.”

Volunteer Ministry Center is gearing up to provide 24-hour onsite management of The Guest House and many other social service providers have stepped up to help support this effort. KARM, the Knox Baptist Association, United Way, Next Step Initiative, CAC, Angelic Ministries and others have offered resources including food delivery, portable shower and laundry facilities.

The City will provide up to $95,000 to operate the shelter over the next 2 months and referrals will come from physicians, hospitals and the health department.

This pandemic highlights the need for a housing first model to address the issue of homelessness in our community and the City will continue to work with our partners on strategies like permanent supportive housing, along with continued use of our Affordable Housing Rental Development Fund to ensure adequate housing for everyone in our community.