Salvation Army ready and willing to help addicts recover

March 22, 2017 11:54 AM

ALBANY - After NewsChannel 13 did a report about drug addicts being turned away from treatment centers, hundreds of viewers wrote to us saying this has unfortunately happened to them or to someone they know.

NewsChannel 13 also heard from the Salvation Army on Clinton Avenue in Albany. The organizers say they have space for addicts and they won't turn anyone away.

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Husband and wife team Donald and Judy Sanderson run the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Albany. They take in anyone facing tough times. That includes the homeless, unemployed, alcoholics and drug addicts.

"We have plenty of room, plenty of room," assured Judy.

They have 90 beds and right now, only 40 of them are filled.

Both Sandersons are particularly sensitive to hearing about addicts being turned away from treatment centers.

Major Donald Sanderson knows firsthand. He was once an addict.

"I was a hopeless wretch, addicted to heroin and alcohol and crack," he remembered.

Twenty-three years ago, the Salvation Army took him in.

"I stayed in a room that look a lot like this in a very old building in Patterson, New Jersey," he recalled. "If it weren't for the Salvation Army's program, I would be dead. There is no doubt."

He recovered and changed his life. Now, he runs the location on Clinton Avenue, with his wife, Judy, by his side. Both are brought to tears at the thought of addicts not being able to get help.

"It breaks my heart to know that we are here, in the community, ready and willing to help anyone," admitted Donald.

Their location has existed on Clinton Avenue since the late 1800's. The building needs a lot of work. However, it's a bed, shelter, food, counseling and support. Recovering addicts who have already gone through at least three days of detox are welcome to stay there for up to nine months for free.

"We begin to help identify where they have fallen short, where they're having issues, where they're having trouble coping and when we begin to identify that we begin to work on solutions on how to cope with those things," noted Judy.

Many people who go through the nine-month program end up staying at the Salvation Army and working in the programs to help others.

Again, the Albany location has 90 beds and only 40 are filled right now.


WNYT Staff

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