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Valley News Dispatch

Some Wesley Family Services programs closing in the Alle-Kiski Valley

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

Wesley Family Services is closing three Alle-Kiski Valley-based programs, citing low participation and financial constraints among the reasons for the move.

The nonprofit is closing its Drug and Alcohol Program in Tarentum, its Adolescent Residential Treatment Facility in Allegheny Township and its Fairweather Lodge in New Kensington.

“Each one has its kind of unique posture that led to the decisions,” CEO Doug Muetzel said.

Muetzel said the three programs weren’t covering their direct expenses and there were challenges in terms of how many people they were serving.

“Once we completed our budget process and passed the budget for 2018-19, we determined it would be in the best interest to close these three programs,” he said.

The programs are expected to close within 90 days. Each location has been in operation for at least five years.

“This is just really sad,” Muetzel said. “Any time you serve even one client, there’s a matter of disappointment and sadness in terms of a service that you thought you were providing with some good quality, and then you have to go through this transition of us closing the program.”

Clients seeking treatment can get services at one of Wesley’s other locations or can be referred to other providers in the area, Muetzel said.

“We’re working with each individual (to see) what location is best and what services are the next best step for them,” he said.

About 25 full- and part-time employees were spaced out among the three programs, Muetzel said. Wesley is working to see if those employees can be moved to other sections of the nonprofit.

“We are aggressively looking at other opportunities those people might be able to meet the characteristics for and to get them placed within our own organization,” Muetzel said.

The Drug and Alcohol Program offered drug and alcohol outpatient treatment, and the Adolescent Residential Treatment Facility was designed to provide short-term services to teens dealing with mental health crises.

The Fairweather Lodge offered both living and employment opportunities for four adults 18 and older with mental illness. It was set up so participants shared a house and operated the St. Margaret Foundation Free Medical Shuttle Service in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Muetzel said the employment component of the Fairweather Lodge will continue — it’s the residential component that is ending.

“We haven’t had people live there for at least six months,” Muetzel said. “It’s a great idea — it’s just to find the right people that want to live together in that type of setting is a lot more difficult and did not materialize for us.”

Wesley Family Services was created in 2017 through the merger of Wesley Spectrum and Family Services of Western Pennsylvania. It operates on a $60 million yearly budget.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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