Community-Minded Enterprises, which recently moved to a new location east of downtown Spokane, plans to expand its Recovery Services program to offer a new tool to help clients maintain their sobriety.
The Spokane-based social service nonprofit has developed an enhanced text communication application called Recovery Connect to provide an additional tool to assist its clients in the Recovery Services program, chief philanthropy officer Sara Desautel says.
“It’s not an app that you have to download. It’s a text line,” she explains.
The new text platform will be free for users when it launches at the end of March, Desautel adds.
Clients will be able to access the program via text message, answer a series of questions, and receive resources to the services, programs, or partnerships clients indicate they need assistance with.
Desautel says clients will self-navigate, and, depending on how the questions are answered, may get recommendations for additional services, including assistance with primary care, child care, employment services, and housing.
Artificial-intelligence technology initially will help match clients with their needs through the platform. Desautel says, “If somebody gets to a point where they need more help, we’ve got somebody ready to have a conversation over the phone or in person.”
Clients will be able to access the text tool at any time. However, if texts are received after hours, they will be held in a queue for a virtual coach to respond during the coach’s working hours.
“A lot of times when you need help, it’s not Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Desautel says. “I think sometimes it’s nice to be able to start a conversation whenever it works for you.”
The nonprofit was founded in 1999 and offers resources and support to low-income, multi-ethnic, and marginalized communities with addiction recovery and employment through its social service programs. Community-Minded Enterprises conducts outreach through its digital media channel Community-Minded Television (CMTV14), which began operating in 2007. The organization also operates Recovery Café Spokane, founded in 2017, which is a therapeutic recovery community designed to help members maintain sobriety.
Community-Minded Enterprises also had implemented a similar texting platform during the pandemic for its early learning programs that allowed parents to reach out anytime at no charge to connect with resources, Desautel explains.
“That was just a really easy path for people,” she says. “We were just thinking: Why not for the recovery folks too?”
Desautel says the tool also will collect data that will allow Community-Minded Enterprises to learn more about its clients, how clients seek out its services, and how clients use the text line. The data will be stored and accessible if a client returns to use the application in the future.
She says Community-Minded Enterprises received a $50,000 grant from Tacoma, Washington-based Coordinated Care to create a virtual mode of providing recovery services. The grant went toward the development of the text app, the hiring of a virtual recovery coach, and marketing efforts to community partners. It also will help maintain the tool for at least a year.
Community-Minded Enterprises partnered with Bozeman, Montana-based Quiq, to develop the text app.
“At this time, we are in the test phase, which means that the live agent isn’t there yet,” Desautel says. “It’s not ready for the public just yet. We’re sort of having internal audiences help us with some early feedback so we can finesse it before we do the big launch.”
In addition to developing the new text application, the organization has signed a 10-year lease and has moved into its new Recovery Services building, located at 622 E. Second, in Spokane, says Reid Jeglum, Community-Minded Enterprises’ facility and information technology coordinator.
Jeglum says the nonprofit began looking for a new facility a year ago, as it had outgrown its administrative offices at 2001 N. Division, on Spokane’s North Side.
Jeglum says the location was selected because it’s on a bus line and is closer to where its clients are located.
Community-Minded Enterprises is the sole tenant in the 7,000-square-foot office building, which was formerly occupied by a United Tile store.
The Recovery Services building will be home to the organization’s State Opioid Response, Substance Abuse Block Grant, Recovery Café Spokane, Child Care Assistance, and Foundation Community Support programs.
Community-Minded Enterprises has nine staff based in the new building.
Tenant improvements to the building included building a conference room, installing windows and doors in four new offices, and a remodeled kitchen space for the Recovery Café to operate in. The renovations cost about $60,000, Jeglum says.
Craven Co., of Spokane, was the contractor for the tenant improvements. ZBA Architecture PS, also of Spokane, provided architectural services.
Jeglum says transportation issues were considered a barrier to clients seeking assistance from the nonprofit, so it was important to have more of its services and programs together under one roof.
Subscribe today to our free E-Newsletters!SUBSCRIBE