The Van Ness Recovery House (VNRH) capped off Recovery Month in September with a 50-Year Anniversary Carnival Celebration in West Hollywood at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall and Great Lawn on Saturday, September 30, 2023. Members and leaders of the recovering community gathered to celebrate the oldest LGBTQ+ recovery house in the nation, which has been a sanctuary for individuals battling addiction for half a century.
The carnival was free to the public and featured games, popcorn, cotton candy, slushies, finger foods like sandwiches, a fortune teller, a pie-throwing tent, dancing and fellowship.
“The Van Ness Recovery House has not had a drug or a drink in 50 years,” said Program Director Kathy Watt, who thanked board members, staff, and the alumni for their hard work and support of the house.
West Hollywood Council members John Heilman and Chelsea Byers attended the event to congratulate and acknowledge the 50-year milestone.
“I really want to thank all of you because I know you not only work on your own recovery, but also help hundreds of other people who aren’t here today,” said council member Heilman. “So thank you, thank you for all of the work you do. We really appreciate it and we support you.”
“It’s so amazing to be part of a city that makes an investment in this life-affirming work that creates space for people to have lives that we can be lived on full display, and support each other in the way we do,” added council member Byers. “I’m so excited to be part of a really celebratory and joyous environment. Thank you for creating this and all the magic you do to support people’s lives daily.”
There was a cake the event from Cake & Art in West Hollywood, which not only celebrated the VNRH’s 50 years, but that day was also a celebration for Kathy Watt’s birthday as well as her 37-year sober milestone.
The Van Ness Recovery House is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to meet the critical and expanding needs of the LGBTQ+ community through whole person care and integrated services that target drug and alcohol addiction, mental health concerns, and sexual health in a socially supportive environment. The 20-bed residential treatment facility opened in 1973 and was one of the first facilities to welcome people with HIV and AIDS into residential addiction recovery treatment.
Since its inception, the Recovery House has served thousands of individuals struggling with substance related disorders. The City contracted with the Van Ness Recover House beginning in 1992 and has referred thousands of community members and residents to the agency to receive services.
The Van Ness Recovery House had weathered fifty years of challenges and changes, yet it remained a symbol of resilience and transformation. The house has not only saved lives but had also given people the tools to build meaningful, sober lives.
The celebration continues with a Van Ness Recovery House Gala Brunch – 50 Years of Keeping a Roof Over Recovery, on Sunday, October 22nd 2023 at 11:00 AM PDT.
Join board members and fellow supporters for an event honoring The Van Ness House’s commitment to LGBTQ+ community members experiencing addiction and facing homelessness.
The event will be held in Beverly Hills at the private residence of board member Brian Stevens and Alex Capecelatro with valet parking and an elegant brunch by “Love Catering,” (Chef Jonathan Darr).
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