A Rincon Valley property that for nearly 40 years served as a refuge for men seeking to kick addiction has been transformed into a residential facility for women and their children.
The fledgling Crossing the Jordan Foundation, a religious group that started with a thrift shop on Santa Rosa Avenue, last week bought the former Turning Point house on Acacia Lane.
"We have a waiting list that we're working through; every day we're getting calls," executive director Dana Bryant said.
The Christian group is permitted for up to 35 beds and expects to house at most 18 adult women plus their children who are seeking to get off the street, escape dangerous living situations or kick addictions.
The deal came together in an unusual agreement with Turning Point's operator, Drug Abuse Alternatives Center, said the drug abuse center's real estate agent, Michael Falk.
Part of the terms include allowing the foundation to make quarterly installments toward a down payment. The property was sold Aug. 22 for $706,000.
"This is a story about how one nonprofit helped the other one be able to take this over so there's a continuation of service," said Falk, himself a 1981 graduate of Turning Point.
The demand for bed space "far exceeds the availability," said Marlus Stewart, managing director of Drug Abuse Alternatives Center, which is part of San Rafael-based Center Point.
"It was exciting that another nonprofit could buy the property," she said.
The new facility adds beds in Sonoma County where there is a "great need" for housing settings where women can reunite with their children, said Jenny Helbraun Abramson, coordinator of Sonoma County Continuum of Care, a network of county agencies, shelters and other homeless services.
About 90 percent of 200 parents needing shelter with children find some type of housing program in the county, according to a biannual homeless count and survey completed this spring.
But that number belies the greater need — parents who are homeless and who wish to be reunified with their children once housed, Abramson said. That number hovers around 1,000 adults. The overall homeless population is about 4,280 people.
As a religious organization with a demanding schedule asking for a 12-month commitment, Crossing the Jordan's program is not for everyone.
Residents pay $380 a month as a program fee and work about 30 hours a week in one of the group's two thrift stores or in its warehouse, Dana Bryant said.
Although residents are not required to be Christian, they must participate in weekly Bible studies and attend church as part of a full schedule of classes, including recovery programs and parenting courses.
"We teach the good old-fashioned value system, and they love it," Dana Bryant said. "A lot of these girls didn't have fathers or anybody who ever cared who they were looking at."
Husband-and-wife team Dana and Michael Bryant, both Rohnert Park natives, started the foundation in 2011 when they opened their first charitable thrift shop on Santa Rosa Avenue. They opened a residential home for a dozen clients in Rohnert Park early in 2012.
The organization now has six full-time employees, including the Bryants.
Dana Bryant said that each woman will graduate with bank accounts, a driver's license, a car and a job. Several women have stayed beyond the 12 months, including one who is finishing commercial truck-driving training and another working on phlebotomy training.