The Healing Place is celebrating something truly special this year – our 30th anniversary.
It was 30 years ago, on August 19, 1989, that 13 Louisville doctors and five community leaders took a bold and courageous step by committing to take ownership and operation of an overnight shelter for men previously operated by Father John Morgan, the Catholic Priest for St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 13th and West Market.
Father Morgan had operated the shelter for 18 years but now wanted to provided services for women coming out of prison. This group of doctors and community leaders acted on faith and formed a nonprofit organization called the Jefferson County Medical Society (JCMS) Outreach Program. Their visionary mission statement was “To use the collective energy and leadership of the Medical Society to attract other professional societies and other professionals and community leaders to come together and collaborate to end homelessness.”
This new nonprofit organization began recruiting experts to assist in developing this social and medical outreach for the homeless. As the Board began to grow, staff were hired to operate the shelter. Additionally, the Board raised more than $650,000 in pledges for the continued annual operation. What a great start to begin addressing homelessness.
The Board of Directors had the insight to recognize that addiction was a primary barrier to the homeless becoming empowered to be independent. The social detox (a street outreach for the alcoholic and addict) opened in September 1992 and a peer driven 12 step social model recovery program started in 1993. It was 1993 that the program was renamed The Healing Place.
Because of the success of the men’s recovery program, it became apparent that a similar program needed to be established for those single women on the street. In August 1995, a women’s recovery program was started in a rented house on East Oak Street. In 1998, the United States Department of Health and Human Services recognized The Healing Place as a Model That Works.
We have continued to grow over the years, adding more beds, facilities, and programs for those in need. We built a residential building at 1000 West Market, expanded our women’s program first at 16th and Broadway then finally at 15th and Hill, where 250 women find recovery today. Our new men’s campus, with capacity for 426 men, opened earlier this year.
The programs have grown to include an expanded detox for men that doubled the number of available beds, a veteran’s program for veterans who are homeless or battling substance abuse, and an intensive outpatient program for those who need a short-term treatment option.
The Healing Place has had its share of challenges, successes, and failures over the past 30 years but through it all, The Healing Place is what it is today because of the best staff ever and a Board of Directors providing governance and financial support to make us the largest and most successful recovery program in the country.
What started as a shelter for 80 homeless men now serves nearly 1,000 individuals daily at no cost to the client with a mission to reach individuals who are suffering from addiction, provide the tools for recovery, and restore meaningful and productive lives.
The Healing Place truly is the Miracle on Market.