Phoenix Rising – Grand Opening

Phoenix Rising Community Open House

Please join us in celebrating the opening of Phoenix Rising, our new home for homeless Phoenix Rising artyoung adults.

Meet with program staff, architects, builders, and our partners.

We will also use this opportunity to say thank you to all of our donors and advocates for years of support.

Valley Cities Phoenix Rising
915 26th St. NE
Auburn, WA 98002

Thursday, April 28
from 3:00 to 6:00pm

For more information, contact our Development Department at


Recovery Place Seattle at Beacon Hill

Recovery Place Seattle imageThe Valley Cities Recovery Place – Seattle, at Beacon Hill will offer much needed access to inpatient care for people in need of  substance use detoxification, treatment, and recovery services. Every day, countless people living with substance abuse disorders in Seattle wait for treatment.

By acquiring and renovating this former Recovery Centers of King County building, Valley Cities will make significant progress toward resolving a severe lack of available beds in our county. The services at this facility will provide a much needed option for families, police and first responders.  This facility is an important addition to the continuum of services provided by Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care.

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, the facility will feature residential beds, patient examination rooms, group therapy rooms, nurse medical stations, a pharmacy, and special amenities for patients, including a dining room, lounge/TV room, and laundry.

The facility, purchased for $4 million, has the proper permitting and zoning to operate as a mental health treatment facility but requires an estimated $5 million in improvements to meet the state’s licensure and certification requirements.

The site is located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle at 1701 18th Avenue South with easy access to I-5 and I-90E. The property is on .92 acres with a building of 33,332 square feet. It will begin operations with 16 beds for residential treatment and 16 beds in a secure detoxification unit where patients may be treated for up to 30 days. It will expand to a total of 72 beds when fully operational, serving approximately 750 people during the first year of operation, growing to more than 1,500 annually.

Executive Constantine, Mayor Murray announce task force to confront heroin and opiate prescription addiction


Valley Cities CEO Ken Taylor, Executive Dow Constantine, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are bringing together a wide range of experts to recommend immediate actions to confront the region’s growing heroin and prescription opiate epidemic.

More people in King County now enter detox for heroin than they do alcohol. In 2014, opiate overdose deaths were the highest ever recorded in King County—more than triple the number of deaths in 2009.

“Addiction to heroin and prescription pain killers is devastating families in every one of our communities—sparing no age, race, gender, neighborhood or income level,” said Executive Constantine. “Our region has a proud tradition of working together across disciplines to achieve a common goal. It’s now time for us to apply that sense of shared purpose to confront this epidemic.”

“I have declared a state of emergency to address homelessness, but I am told by our outreach workers and officers that hundreds of the people who live on our streets are struggling with addiction,” said Mayor Murray. “If we are ever to get people into permanent housing, we must do more on chemical dependency treatment. That means asking the tough questions about how we improve our response to this national heroin epidemic and the resulting property crime and disorder.”

The task force includes more than 30 members representing multiple disciplines, such as public health, human service agencies, criminal justice, cities, University of Washington, hospitals, treatment providers, and others working together to expand the region’s capacity for treatment and prevention capacity.

“Heroin use and overdoses have continued to plague King County, just like the rest of the country—and the rising use by teenagers is particularly troubling,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart. “We must work together to find a way to reduce this killer drug.”

Heroin-related deaths in King County highest in 20 years 

There were 156 heroin-related deaths in King County in 2014, the highest number in 20 years. Substance abuse is one of the root causes of homelessness, and drug overdose is currently the leading causes of death among people who are homeless.

Treatment for addiction is most effective when it is delivered at the right time and in the right setting. Because the treatment capacity in King County has not kept up with sharp increase in heroin and prescription opiate addiction, many people end up receiving treatment in the most expensive settings, including hospitals and jails.

As of Oct. 1, 2015, about 3,615 people were receiving methadone treatment in King County, but lack of treatment capacity leaves more than 150 people on a waitlist each day. Other effective treatment options exist, but they are used inconsistently and are not available in all parts of the county.

Next steps for the task force members

The Task Force on Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction will convene in March and will immediately begin developing short- and long-term action steps to:

  • Expand treatment capacity
  • Increase access to evidence-based treatment options
  • Expand prevention efforts
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of addiction
  • Explore other options and opportunities to improve access to treatment on demand and reduce overdose and death.

Unlike the heroin epidemic in the 1990s, which was largely contained to Seattle, this spike in addiction is hitting every community in King County.

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Valley Cities investigates sale of Woodmont Recovery Center site in Des Moines

Ken Taylor, CEO of Valley Cities, signed an agreement on Thursday, February 18, with a potential buyer of the Woodmont property to enter into a 45-day period to complete a feasibility study and property value appraisal. Also signing the agreement was Michael Lai, CEO and Investing Partner of ML Companies, INC of USASIA Pacific EB5 Investment and SML Seattle Modern Living, LLC. The Valley Cities Board of Directors has agreed to divest of the property if a viable offer is received.

Valley Cities has an agreement with the city of Des Moines through the end of March to identify potential uses for the Woodmont property and explore all options for relocating the services that had been planned there. Conversations about potential sale of the property are part of that mix. Original plans for the 7.9 acres Woodmont Recovery Center in Des Moines on Pacific Highway near 272nd Street included administrative office space for Valley Cities, an outpatient behavioral and physical healthcare clinic, an evaluation and treatment facility, a secure detoxification unit, and a recovery café.

“We have successfully found sites in Kent and Seattle to house inpatient mental health care, substance abuse detoxification, and treatment and recovery services,” said Ken Taylor. “Between those two facilities we will be adding more than 100 desperately-needed acute-care treatment beds.”

Valley Cities is still searching for locations to house outpatient counseling services, administrative offices, and a recovery café. It is expected to take until the end of March to make any decisions about these locations and the sale of the Woodmont site.

Let’s Change the Conversation Around Mental Health

Michelle Obama
First Lady of The United States

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been a passionate voice on so many important issues, and I’m grateful that she is using her day as Guest Editor to shine a bright light on mental health, particularly children’s mental health, and on the tens of millions of people who suffer in silence – people like Ryan Rigdon.

Ryan joined the Navy when he was 20 years old, and he was deployed to Iraq for the first time a few years later. He served on a team that disarmed roadside bombs and IEDs, and when those bombs exploded, they would rush to the scene to clear any remaining explosives while sorting through unimaginable wreckage and carnage. In recognition of his incredible valor, Ryan was awarded a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal.

But when Ryan returned home to his wife and two young daughters after his second deployment, the war stayed with him. He had constant splitting headaches, nightmares and panic attacks, and his ears just wouldn’t stop ringing. He would pace his home at night, worried that his family was in danger. One evening, he finally hit rock bottom. After laying awake in bed crying, he got up, headed to the bathroom, and prepared to take his own life.

Through my work with service members and veterans as part of Joining Forces – the initiative Dr. Jill Biden and I launched to rally Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families – I’ve seen that Ryan’s experience isn’t unique. Like Ryan, some of our heroes on the battlefield struggle with the wounds of war – both visible and invisible – when they come home, but hesitate to ask for help.

Of course, it’s important to remember that most of our veterans don’t experience any mental health challenges at all.

But the veterans and service members who do struggle are not alone – not by a long shot. In fact, roughly one in five adults – more than 40 million Americans – suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition like depression or anxiety. These conditions affect people of every age and every background: our kids and grandparents, our friends and neighbors.

Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. But that simply doesn’t make any sense. Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction. We would never tell someone with a broken leg that they should stop wallowing and get it together. We don’t consider taking medication for an ear infection something to be ashamed of. We shouldn’t treat mental health conditions any differently. Instead, we should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of strength – and we should ensure that people can get the treatment they need.

That’s why the Affordable Care Act expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections for more than 60 million Americans and required new plans to cover depression screenings for adults and behavioral assessments for kids.

That’s also why my husband put more mental health counsellors in place for veterans and signed a bill to help prevent veteran suicide.

And that’s why, last year, we worked with an organization called Give an Hour and a coalition of other partners to launch the Campaign to Change Direction to raise awareness about mental health, give people tools to help those in need, and change the conversation about mental health in this country. This campaign includes leaders from every sector: business, government, nonprofits, medicine, education, the faith community and so many others.

As part of this effort, we released a list of Five Signs to help people recognize when someone needs help. Signs like agitation, withdrawal, hopelessness, a decline in personal care and a change in personality can be indications that someone is dealing with a mental-health issue. By recognizing these signs, we can help the people we know get the help they need before it’s too late.

That brings me back to Ryan. Thankfully, Ryan didn’t end his life that night. Instead, he summoned the courage to tell a co-worker that he needed help. They reached out to the local VA [US Department of Veterans Affairs], and Ryan got the medication and counselling he needed to start getting better.

Just as people in Ryan’s community stepped up for him, we need to step up for people in our lives. We need to learn to identify the signs of mental-health issues. We need to have the courage to reach out and have tough conversations with our friends and family members — and get help ourselves when we need it. And we need to recognize that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and start treating it that way.

Visit to learn the Five Signs and find out how you can join this movement.

Originally published on The Huffington Post, February 17, 2016.
Link to original article here.