An old, remodeled forklift shed, just barely 2,000 square feet, is where the residents of TROSA — Triangle Residential Option for Substance Abusers, receive their health care.
TROSA is a two-year rehabilitation program. The program provides substance abuse treatment, counseling, vocational training, room and board at no cost to the residents.
The resident population is well over 500, which is a 50% increase from four years ago, according to the Director of Development Kristin Pearson.
With the population rising, so is the use of the health care facility. In 2015, there were 7,692 medical appointments handled at TROSA’s, or 21 appointments per day.
The strain of having only two waiting rooms and two examination rooms has been felt for some time, which prompted TROSA to build a new comprehensive care center.
The $2.6 million center will be two-stories and 10,000 square feet and is scheduled to open June 2017. It will feature seven medical exam rooms, three counseling rooms, three psychiatry rooms, four meeting rooms and plenty of waiting areas.
Residents work for one of TROSA’s businesses, which include a moving company, a lawn care company, thrift store and a Christmas tree lot. The program is funded by the profits from TROSA’s businesses along with donations and government grants.
Since the current space is so small other health services such as physical therapy, counseling, and psychiatry have to be performed at different locations. The comprehensive care center will be able to provide a home for all of TROSA’s health related services for the first time.
“To put everybody together under one roof is so vitally important in order to streamline the care and enhance the care we provide our resident,” Pearson said.
The project is unique to TROSA because typically the residents at TROSA vocationally training in construction will refurbish and remodel a preexisting building. Due to the age and structural limitations of the current facility remodeling isn’t feasible, Pearson said.
“This is the first time we are appealing to the public with a capital campaign for a brand new facility to keep pace with the growth of our resident population on our campus,” Pearson said.
The intake center will also be housed in the comprehensive care center. The intake center staff fielded over 2,000 assessments along with 21,000 phone calls.
Kevin McDonald, president, founder and CEO of TROSA, explained how the new center will impact TROSA, “We will now have more room for volunteer doctors and have a whole new process for the intake department. It will help the flow of things. There is so much medical work we have to do for the men and women here and this will make it so much easier.”
“Ninety percent of the residents don’t have health insurance and have put off most medical care for while and need to been seen a lot in the beginning,” Kristy Giemza, Nurse practitioner for TROSA, said.
Charlene Parker, a graduate from TROSA staff in training for the medical department at TROSA, spoke about how important the health services were to her recovery when she was a resident.
“I reached out early on to the women’s staff to let them know what I was struggling with. I never talked about issues that happened growing up and I felt like for the first time if I wanted health and healing that I need to tell somebody.”
Throughout Parker’s time at TROSA she would meet with a counselor or therapist once or twice a week.
“I was up front and honest and just laid it all out there and luckily I was able to work through all of the issues that I had never dealt with before. I’m finally complete with my past,” Parker said.
Parker compared and contrasted her experiences with TROSA and another 30-day program she attended.
“Nothing compares to TROSA. There was a 30-day program and I stayed maybe eight days and left. It was a 30-day program where we ate pizza and talked about addiction. There was no therapy. It’s night and day.”
Currently, TROSA has received $2.1 million in pledges and donations for the comprehensive care center, leaving $500,000 more to be raised, Pearson said.
TROSA will have a groundbreaking ceremony for the new comprehensive care center on Oct. 13 at 9:00 a.m. at 1820 James Street.