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Allumbaugh, the House Hope Built

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Boise Mayor Dave Bieter at the June 1 fifth anniversary celebration of Allumbaugh House. Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre looks on. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter at the June 1 fifth anniversary celebration of Allumbaugh House. Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre looks on.
Five years flies by in an instant for some; for others, it's a lifetime. But for a select few, particularly at Allumbaugh House in Boise, it's life-changing.

"It such an honor to be standing here today, just knowing where I was five years ago. I remember getting sober, because it was right here five years ago," said Trini DeMarco.

DeMarco stood outside the substance abuse and mental health crisis center as an early summer thunderstorm threatened, but the clarity of her optimism was the order of the day June 1. "I was able to safely surrender here. My old life wasn't worth going back to."

Allumbaugh House, which struggled for more than a decade to get off the ground and secure adequate public funding, is now considered, by any measurement, a major success, offering treatment and services to more than 3,700 clients since it opened its doors in 2010.

More than 3,700 clients have accessed the services provided by Allumbaugh House since 2010. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • More than 3,700 clients have accessed the services provided by Allumbaugh House since 2010.
"Allumbaugh represents hope, especially for those who come here," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who championed the creation of the home early in his political career. "But this also represents hope for us in public office. This house is a model for us to go to work on the really tough issues. And we think we can do more good, particularly to combat homelessness. But we need as many people and public agencies as possible to dig in and help us."

Led by the city of Boise, the facility opened its doors through a unique coalition with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Ada County, the City of Meridian, both St. Al's and St. Luke's hospitals, the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority and the United Way of Treasure Valley. The facility is operated by Terry Reilly Health Services and focuses on mental health and addiction issues for those without means. They also point to a very low rate of recidivism.

Five years later, DeMarco isn't just a graduate; she works at Allumbaugh House.

"I'm a psych tech (psychiatric technician) and a recovery coach," she told Boise Weekly. "It's an honor to be working beside this wonderful staff."