During Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, Inside Out Recovery Co-Founders Kevin Eckiss and Tony Smith introduced their new program.
"We are not here to replace the House of Hope, only to enhance it," Eckiss said about the ministry, which was started in 2009. "We will be turning the former health center into a ministry that will act as a faith-based halfway house that will help transition people who have had addiction issues back into society."
He added in many situations, an individual being released from incarceration has no place else to go other than back into the environment in which the behavior originated.
"We want to provide a safe, residential re-entry program to help the recovery process rather than having them fall back into the old habits and same traps," Eckiss said.
Smith added the ministry is in the closing process of purchasing the building, which should be completed by mid-June.
"One of our goals is to get a solid base underneath them and help them get on the right track to be productive members of society," Smith said.
Both Smith and Eckiss admitted they are both recovering addicts who have worked in recent years with a Celebrate Recovery Program at the Clay County Jail, and strive to help others get back on the right track.
"Our program is very structured and disciplined with a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol usage," Eckiss said. "Each recovery will be based on an individual's need, but they will all be held accountable and will be required to complete community service so they can contribute and give back to Brazil."
Council member Brad Deal said through his job, he sees similar stories of people falling back into their old traps and supported the ministry.
"Both (council member) Steve Lamb and I work at the prison and see this all the time in that someone who is released has no place to go except for back where they came from," Deal said. "In those situations, they are also usually the ones with the biggest targets on their backs because of their past."
Lamb added he also is an avid supporter of the program and is surprised at the movement made after he made the suggestion to Eckiss and Smith at church.
"I had mentioned this idea to Tony about a month ago, and I am shocked and surprised, in a good way, at how well and quickly this is working out," he said. "Plus, this program would not just be for felons, but also for those who need to temporarily get out of their homes and out of a negative situation."
Eckiss said the stay for those involved in the program would not be for a lifetime as most would reside in the building for a maximum of 1-2 years.
In other business during Wednesday's meeting, the council:
*Unanimously approved the second, and final, reading of a Backflow Prevention Ordinance, which would provide additional protection for the city's drinking water in the event it would be contaminated with backflow from a residence or business, and
* Approved a resolution to modify IVC Industrial Coatings, Inc., Tax Abatement Calculation Agreement. This modification is identical to the one passed by the Clay County Council on May 2, and was necessary due to the IVC property sitting both in the county and city limits.
The next meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., May 25, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.