Anchorage in need of funds

ALBANY, Ga. -- One of the area's most successful substance-abuse rehabilitation facilities for men is in dire need of donations after officials say they are about $44,000 in the red.

The Anchorage is a 55-bed facility in Albany that provides substance-abuse treatment and rehabilitation through Christian-based programs.

Since the Anchorage offers its services free of charge minus a fee for a criminal background check, officials say a raging recession has leached its way into the charity's books as the group's normally plentiful donations have plummeted.

"(Anchorage Director) Kenny (Phillips) has done his best to watch every dollar that comes in and make sure it's spent in a way that stretches them as far as possible, but everyone knows times are tough and it's especially that way for places that depend on donations," Traci Howell, who is assisting the Anchorage with pursuing possible grant opportunities, said.

"We have to have donations to function. We don't have any other source of revenue," Howell said.

The situation is indeed dire. According to the Anchorage's May newsletter, the facility has fought to cut expenses. But despite the belt-tightening, revenues are still $44,000 below where they had been budgeted for the year.

Times are so tight at the Anchorage, the May edition of the facility's newsletter will be the last edition if the financial problems aren't resolved.

"In an effort to ease this burden, I am pleading with each person that receives this newsletter to consider making a contribution of at least $30 to help eliminate this shortfall," Phillips wrote.

In the letter, he writes that if the 2,800 subscribers to the newsletter send in $15, it would resolve the deficit.

While many government-funded or private rehabilitation centers are often expensive for customers or yield little in the way of results, the staff at the Anchorage boasts an 80 percent success rate with participants up to one year after they leave the facility.

Using a two-part program, the Anchorage takes in nonviolent men with substance abuse issues and puts them through an intensive rehabilitation program that lasts for four months. Once sober, they then turn to a work- and Christian-based program to try and permanently rid themselves of the demons that Howell says have often plagued them for so long.

"It's really amazing to see the progress they make from when they come in to when they leave," Howell said. "We have an alumni group that is very active that is full of success stories. I mean, 80 percent success one year out is huge in this type of work."

Currently experiencing a growing demand -- the Anchorage has a roughly 70-person waiting list presently -- Howell said that the facility helps keep an additional burden off taxpayers by providing an alternative to jail and often providing a way out before a drug- or alcohol-dependence problem turns to something much worse.

"Albany and Georgia need this facility, especially now," Howell said. "When times get tough, some people turn to alcohol and drugs to cope, and we see a spike in demand. ... It's a need that must be met."

For more information about the Anchorage, call (229) 435-5692 or go to www.anchorageofalbany.org.