Ways we help

SABER Treatment Program

The Urban Ministry Center offers homeless, substance-abusing men something that life never gave them before. Hope. And a home.

The program is called SABER (Substance Abuse Education and Recovery). Director Marilyn Furman brought the model from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, based upon their addiction research. SABER combines nine months of therapy and life-changing skills with the guarantee of free housing, as long as the person stays drug and alcohol-free. This expectation helps the program achieve a 55% success rate after nine months, compared with a national average of 20% for other substance programs. In addition, 85% complete SABER’s three-month intensive treatment. And there’s another important difference: SABER costs $500 per person per month, compared with an average of $2,300 per month for typical residential care.

Here’s how the program works. SABER admits a new person approximately once a week, with a capacity of 64 men each year. Each individual receives three months of intensive outpatient treatment, followed by six months of continuing care. Broken lives are rebuilt through three months of life-changing therapy, which includes job training and acquisition, individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, anger management, yoga and meditation. Clients begin looking for work and many obtain full-time employment during continuing care. SABER includes 18 four-bedroom apartments on Central Avenue, donated by the CentroBono Foundation. Drug-testing is conducted three times each week. Clients earn money on WalMart gift cards by achieving their weekly goals – research shows that incentives both large and small make a difference.

SABER is a nine-month journey toward self-sufficiency. The program offers enough time for mind and body to heal and provides a more realistic setting for successful recovery.

SABER started in 2006 and has had some amazing outcomes since that time. Click here to review outcomes through June 2021.

Our thanks to the ABC Board, which has partially funded SABER with an annual donation since 2007. 

For information, contact SABER’s Clinical Director Ronica Foster. Donations of $5 Wal-Mart gift cards are greatly appreciated. Every contribution improves our community, one life at a time.