BLACKFOOT, Idaho - A local county said buying homes is helping to keep a court program on track. After Bingham County added a Felony Drug Court and a Mental Health Court, there was a need for people on probation to get clean and sober.
The county said 34 percent of people in the program live in these homes.
In 2001 Bingham County bought the first home for the transitional housing program. There are three houses in total -- all located near the courthouse and drug treatment facilities. People live in the homes rent free for about three months, until they get sober and have saved money.
The female transition house has three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and backyard.
"I haven't been a good mom for a long time because of my addiction, but to be able to play with my little boy, clean and sober, is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My little boy has his mommy back and it feels so good," said Kelly Murray, who lives in the transition house. Murray has been in trouble with the law. She used to be addicted to pain medication and got caught buying it illegally. Her probation officer suggested she live in the transition house.
"To spend time with my son, I had to be high because that's when I had energy. I didn't have energy, courage or strength when I was sober, but now I don't have to do that anymore because of this program and house," she said.
"Where I was living before this was with not so great people. I lived in a bad environment with drugs," Murray said.
Claudon Lilya is the coordinator of this program. "As long as they're working on their problems and working appropriately, we'll work with them. When they fail to do that, they are asked to leave or usually end up in jail," Lilya said. He also said he hasn't had any major problems with tenants.
Bingham County uses federal dollars to pay for the homes. Madison County has followed in the footsteps of Bingham with its transitional housing program.