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S.T.A.R.T. House

Start House is a 7 bed facility that opened in July 1994 and is the only exclusively HIV/AIDS Transitional Program in Orange County.  Although other programs in the county accept HIV/AIDS’ clients, this is Start House’s main objective.  The program was designed to accommodate coed, homeless, HIV/AIDS drug users in recovery.  While off the streets and working toward recovery, the spread of the HIV virus is greatly reduced.   Start House is funded by Orange County.

The structure of the program at Start House provides the clients a stay of 4 months, allowing them the time to put their lives back together.  During this period, clients are encouraged to seek employment; apply for SSI or Medi-Cal; and/or enroll in classes.  Clients are assisted in obtaining medical and psychological attention as needed, and also assisted in arranging additional recovery program time and housing for themselves.  Start House offers services to the public on a non-discriminatory, sliding-fee scale.

The program provides 24-hour supervised housing, dietary control, medication stability, and self-esteem building.  While living in this comfortable 3-bedroom home, clients are encouraged to learn responsibilities through meal planning & preparation, and rotating chores.

The program is semi-structured to include four mandatory NA/AA support meetings a week, three mandatory counseling sessions a month, two urine analyses a month, two weekly house meetings and one goal session each week.  During the goal session, clients discuss where they are now, where they would like to be, the steps they need to take to achieve their goals, and any barriers encountered in meeting their goals.  Their goals involve areas of their lives, such as sobriety, finances, education, family, medical, health, housing, employment, social, and counseling.

Resource packets are provided to assist clients in finding placements when they complete the program and/or leave Start House.  Clients are encouraged to seek drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs once they leave.  Many clients are admitted to Start House while awaiting admission to Straight Talk’s Gerry House, or other drug treatment programs.

Start House is important to the community because among all the “high-risk behavior” groups, intravenous drug users are the fastest growing segment of our country’s HIV/AIDS population, with females of child-bearing age representing the greatest source of HIV transmission.  HIV/AIDS AIDS is moving at an alarming rate in all communities and Straight Talk is committed to those substance abusers who are ready for recovery.  Start House provides clients with the skills and knowledge to protect others and themselves. More importantly we can provide HOPE.

Please contact Jaime Baxter, Program Director for further information jbaxter@straighttalkcounseling.org.

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