OGDEN — A sanctuary for women struggling with substance abuse is moving out of Ogden — and those affiliated with the organization are looking for helping hands to ease the relocation.
Women’s Retreat House, an Ogden-based residential 12-step treatment home for women recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, is moving from the grounds of Saint Joseph Catholic High School to a new facility in Pleasant View.
Since 2007, the Retreat House has been based at a former convent that sits immediately north of the high school. But John Robbins, a member of the group’s board of trustees, said the operation is being forced to move. The Retreat House has long rented the St. Joe’s building from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, but Robbins said his board has been informed the Diocese wants to use the building for a developing foreign exchange student program.
“The (Diocese) has been great, but they need the building now,” Robbins said. “We were able to operate there for 12 years and we’ve been paying a very low rent, so they’ve really helped make us work.”
So the group has purchased a 3,300 square foot building near the southern border of Pleasant View. The facility, formerly a residential home, will be able to accommodate all of the Retreat House’s operations, Robbins said.
“We think it’s a great facility that will still provide everything we need,” he said. “It sits on a whole acre and there’s an open field behind the house and we’ve got a great view of Ben Lomond.”
Mari Roberts, who serves on a volunteer committee that helps the organization, describes the Women’s Retreat House as a “spiritual retreat for women.” Residents in the program pay $120 per week for room and board, and share cooking and cleaning chores. There are also scholarships for women who can’t afford rent.
“We’ve never kicked anyone out because they can’t afford to pay,” Robbins said.
The group follows the 12-step addiction program from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and it’s run mostly by recovering addicts. Up to 15 women can live in the house at a time, including three non-paid managers. Aside from a paid officer manager position, everyone involved in running the program is a volunteer. Most of the women involved in managing the house also participated in the program.
Though the building has been secured, Robbins said money is still needed for renovations there and to keep rent low for residents. Some priority remodeling work on the home has already been complete, but Robbins said there’s still a lot more work to be done.
“We’re trying to give it a more homey, spiritual feel,” he said. “And ultimately, our long-term vision is to build additional buildings for transitional housing. That’s way down the road, but that’s what we want to do.”
Roberts said the group is holding a fundraiser golf tournament Aug. 12 at the Ogden Golf and Country Club, 4197 S. Washington Blvd. For more information, call 801-393-0344. Those wishing to donate to the Retreat House can also visit womensretreathouse.com.