The King County Council this week approved a supplemental budget that included Vice Chair Reagan Dunn’s major budget request of $500,000 in funding for Recovery Café in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle.
The King County Council this week approved a supplemental budget that included Vice Chair Reagan Dunn’s major budget request of $500,000 in funding for Recovery Café in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle. This financial boost will restore $400,000 in MIDD funding that Recovery Café lost in 2020 and provide an additional $100,000 to allow the Café to hire more staff and invest in new programing.
“Right now, our region is seeing a heartbreaking crisis of addiction that has greatly worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dunn said. “As a recovering alcoholic with years of sobriety under my belt, I know how necessary Recovery Café’s work is for people who need a helping hand to re-claim their life, and it’s an honor to support their life-changing programs.”
With this funding, Recovery Café’s SODO location is expected to re-open in August 2021, where it will provide addiction and mental health treatment to people in need. Recovery Café is designed to help reduce relapse and maintain recovery, providing clients with nutritious meals, peer-to-peer accountability groups, volunteer and educational opportunities, 12-step meetings, and referral services in a drug and alcohol-free environment.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Council and especially to Councilmember Dunn for this investment in the lives of the people Recovery Café serves,” said Executive Director David Coffey. “This funding will be fundamental to creating hope, healing and life transformation for hundreds of people in a time when it is so desperately needed. This investment will not only serve people directly to address substance use disorder recovery and mental health wellness, it will create a ripple effect of good for the families, loved ones and our community for years to come.”
This funding proposal is the latest initiative Dunn has put forward following his recent Conference on Addiction Disorders, where he hosted a panel of experts and individuals with lived experience of addiction to speak on topics such as the science behind addiction, addressing the stigmatization of addiction, and the rise of Substance Use Disorders during COVID-19. Dunn also worked to include substance use disorder supports for youth in the Best Starts for Kids levy, raise awareness of King County’s safe medicine return program, and launch a campaign to reduce the stigma of substance use disorders. In addition, he spearheaded an effort to create new legal privacy protections for virtual recovery meetings.
Data released by the King County Medical Examiner show a startling 24% increase in overdose-related deaths in 2020 and an even larger increase – of 118% – over the last decade. A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 40% of adults are experiencing adverse mental or behavioral health conditions during the pandemic, with 13% reporting increased drug and alcohol addiction to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.