2009 Year-End Report

July 1, 2009

It’s been a year now since Tuerk House Recovery Centers experienced a change of leadership. During this time, a core group of new and experienced staff has worked to improve the way the Tuerk House does business. We are proud to report the following results:

The Tuerk House infrastructure is stronger and the organization has embarked on expansion and renovation at several of its locations. This past year a dozen men, through our Open Doors Remodeling Vocational Training Program, worked to make the main site on Ashburton Street a better place to live and work. Through dedication and hard work, these men patiently went through most of the 90 rooms to repair and move walls, tile floors, repair ceilings, redecorate and paint. For pennies on the dollar, the facility received a critical facelift provided by men who benefitted from the work experience.

Professionals were contracted to install a new roof, add a sprinkler system and upgrade electrical and HVAC systems. Furniture and appliances donated by generous foundations and individuals have helped soften the institutional feel of the old hospital building. More furniture is due to arrive soon, thanks to a major funder, and in the next year we expect to add carpet and art work to make the place feel even less institutional.

Plans are also underway to redo the landscaping, providing a meditation garden and basketball courts in the backyard, and to further augment the HVAC systems.

In addition, there is an ongoing discussion about forming a partnership with Coppin State University and the City of Baltimore to renovate the historic Hebrew Orphan Asylum and adjoining property, a 30,000 square foot structure attached to the Tuerk House on its western end with enough land for real leisure space. We expect the expansion, a long-term project, to provide more long-term beds, teach and practice cultural competency and establish meeting space for the local community.

Our plans for expansion in the Charles Village location are quickly being fulfilled. The Charles Village Community Association recently approved an expansion of the halfway house in the 2500 block of Maryland Avenue. Tuerk House is working with the Episcopal Housing Corporation, architect Randy Sovich, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to purchase an adjacent building and renovate the three townhouses to accommodate 27 men in a six-month program as well as to provide office space for administrators. Tuerk House has applied for $1,400,000 in state funds and expects to raise another $600,000 in matching funds in preparation for acquisition and construction to begin late summer 2010. The facility, as it currently stands, houses 18 men and is badly in need of an overhaul.

Tuerk House has ambitious, long-term plans for Nilsson House, its women’s halfway house facility in the Woodbourne Heights neighborhood, as well. In 2007, Nilsson House underwent a partial facelift, with new flooring, painting, and lighting, electrical and plumbing upgrades. The program affords twelve female clients the opportunity to stabilize their lives, find employment, repair social support systems, address medical and psychiatric issues, find longer term housing, and integrate into self help recovery. This property was previously charted for expansion, as it is large, at more than an acre, but the proposed plans met with community opposition. Tuerk House hopes to build another facility on this site eventually, possibly as early as 2011.

One other facility, not ten minutes from Tuerk House, is about to come online this summer. Tuerk House is on the verge of signing a lease for 1611 Baker Street, a property previously called Bright Hope House that can comfortably accommodate 32 clients, and for which Tuerk House anticipates accepting 20 clients in late August. This property contains a commercial kitchen, 15 shared bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and common areas for community development and group support. The facility is currently completing a $250,000 renovation. Tuerk House has received both funding from Baltimore Substance Abuse Services and a Community Services Block Grant for substance abuse treatment, GED classes and vocational training.

Tuerk House’s county presence is also targeted for expansion. Our Ellicott City site has been a huge success. In conjunction with the Howard County Department of Health, Tuerk House runs a beautiful facility for fifteen men that is a model for expansion in other counties. In Baltimore and Harford Counties, opportunities for this level of care are evident. Tuerk House is conducting talks with the health departments in these counties to develop opportunities that would prove ideal for low income county residents needing a period of stabilization before reentering society as clean and sober citizens. We expect to report back a year from now that programs have evolved in one or both of these areas.

Financially the Tuerk House has become much more efficient, transparent and responsive to market demands. In 2008, Tuerk House suffered a $145,000 cut in funding with no decrease in expected service output. As a result, the organization developed alternative revenue streams that would make-up for that loss. Staffing cuts, a thorough review of all expenses, and special attention to important contracts made a difference. Despite the 5% decrease in funding, there was a 10% increase in revenue, thus enabling Tuerk House to cover fixed costs with a larger operational base. While service levels have increased, staff salaries, at approximately $1,800.000, stayed constant. Consulting costs dropped and both utility and food costs were managed closely to avoid sizeable increases that hit other large industry providers. Finally, in FY 2009 Tuerk House hired development professionals, with over forty years of experience between them, to project a better brand image, develop a new website, write grants, and solicit contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. In summation, Tuerk House emerged from this fiscal year much stronger financially than it had been a year ago, and structurally better prepared for the future.

Programmatically, Tuerk House has improved the care it gives to its clients, was awarded a grant for computer software to track service inputs and treatment outcomes, was the lead agency in a unique partnership for a federal grant that would provide a new paradigm of care, and added a host of services to augment its mission. This past year the staff underwent training in Total Quality Management, a management tool that tracks qualitative data elicited from service recipients to improve service performance. As well, the clinical team underwent intensive training in Motivational Interviewing, an industry best practice known to produce results with addictive behavior change. Finally, the agency added HIV and AIDS programming, vocational programming, non-denominational spiritual sessions, yoga, arts, and three more levels of care, including enhanced halfway house, intensive outpatient, and buprenorphine therapy. Tuerk House anticipates that next year GED programming, cultural competency, family strengthening, vocational programming, acupuncture, meditation, and Tai Chi will be added to the menu of services it offers.

This has been an exceptionally productive year where the administrative and staff team, supported by an extremely motivated and competent board of directors and a core group of individual, corporate and foundation donors, made outstanding progress in turning around an organization with a long and distinguished 40-year history. The staff and board of Tuerk House will continue to find innovative ways to serve those who most need our help, mainly homeless people with addiction problems who have limited education and vocational skills and frequently have legal issues as well.

We extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed to making Tuerk House a better experience for the 1,200 men and women we serve annually.