FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Since October 2010, Kelley House has helped 137 people get back on their feet. It’s a residential treatment facility for people dealing with both a mental health disorder and drug or alcohol abuse.
Kelley House was a sentencing option for Allen Circuit and Superior Courts through the Restoration Court. But, at the end of this month, it will no longer be a choice.
“This is a significant loss. It was a unique treatment facility that literally changed lives. In the meantime, it was expensive and sadly we’re governed by that,” Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck said.
Surbeck is also the chair of the Allen County Community Corrections Advisory Board. He said Kelley House cost $1.3 million a year to run. The entire community corrections budget is $5.5 million. Community corrections has been running on a deficit for several years after county employees got raises but the budget from the Department of Corrections stayed the same and income from offender fees dropped.
“It got to the point where people who were carrying us said, ‘We’re sorry. We know it’s a quality program, but we can’t go on,'” Surbeck said.
Kelley House is named after Jim Kelley, the founder of Kelley Automotive. He also created the Washington House, which is the detox program that was in the building before Kelley House.
“It’s unfortunate they don’t have the money to run it, but I understand,” Tom Kelley, Jim’s son, said Friday.
Four employees will be reassigned within community corrections, but eight jobs are being eliminated. Right now, 14 people live in Kelley House and 19 more use the programs there.
“We do have appropriate placements for all these people they’re not just being kicked out the door,” Surbeck said. “For future offenders, we’ll find alternatives. They won’t be as good as this one, but we’ll find alternatives. We’ll manage.”