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COVID-19 Pandemic Creates Barriers For Those Seeking Recovery

Glass doors with papers taped to them that say, "Closed to the public until further notice please call: 800-509-7762."
Lucia Starbuck
The entrance of Foundation for Recovery in Sparks, Nev. on Tuesday, March 31.

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting houseless individuals who are in different stages of recovery for substance use. Foundation for Recovery is a drop-in center in Sparks that provides resources for people in recovery from substance use. But this clinic, like others in the region, had to close its doors due to the novel coronavirus.

Program Director of the Northern Nevada chapter Lisa Lee said these closures can be detrimental to individuals who don’t have stable shelter.

“I'm having a hard time coping with all this. I have 18 years in recovery. I can't imagine someone who is in early recovery, or is a person who uses drugs right now, or who has a co-occurring condition coping with all of this right now," Lee said.

Meetings are offered online and on the phone, but that can pose a challenge if individuals don’t have access to the internet. Lee wants to see more resources for people without stable shelter.

“I feel that Reno needs to get behind [this]: A shelter is not the only service needed on the continuum. We need robust services that include everything from a safe camp to recovery housing,” Lee said.

Lee and her staff are doing daily in-person outreach to try to meet the needs of people sleeping outside, and working to help those in recovery stick to a plan, as best as they can.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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