One block from the Wilfrid Laurier campus on King Street sits a 130 year-old farmhouse. For over 40 years it has served the community as a men’s long-term addiction treatment center through the House of Friendship. Known as 174 King St. North, it will be up for sale in early 2018.
According to House of Friendship Development Director Margaret Lucas, the property along with its sister property two blocks away on Central Street, are expected to sell for $1 million collectively.
“We’ve kind of outlived its purpose,” said Rick Pengelly, an addictions counselor who has worked for 24 years at 174. “The location has grown up around us as party central.”
Pengelly refers to the annual St. Patrick’s day celebrations directly across from the treatment center on Ezra where there can be up to 10,000 students drinking throughout the day and night.
There is also the issue of frequent maintenance to the old building, its lack of accessable entrances, as well as minimal space for quiet reflection where up to 15 residents are encouraged to privately work on personal issues.
Serving an average of 85 males per year, the program can last up to six months depending on the individual. Residents are required to take part in group classes Monday to Friday with weekends off for personal time. For the first two weeks of the program, residents are required to stay on the property unless escorted by another house member with more sobriety time. After that, residents may earn a key and are free to come and go within curfew and after classes.
The Central Street house serves as the second tier of the program where residents integrate back into society. They live on their own, maintain the household and have the option to gain employment.
“A large number of graduates have many, many years of clean time,” said Pengelly. “There is a magic, a spirit at 174.”
Profits from the sale of the properties go toward the purchase and renovation of the new treatment center in Cambridge, where there are more beds, large classrooms, and recreational space for the families of residents to visit.
Pengelly was somber when asked personally about the sale.
“We’re losing some of the relationships we have here in Waterloo,” said Pengelly. “In any change, we will have to adjust and adapt.”