Sober living facility in Billings in need of community support after house fire
The remnants of the sober living house, Sober Beginnings, are now completely boarded up after the fire left 13 residents homeless and looking for any help the community can provide.
One resident described the scene they experienced Friday morning as "sheer panic and explosions." And mentioned that a "barbecue came through the kitchen from outside" as well.
Fortunately, everyone escaped unharmed but now all who lived there are without a home.
"We don’t know what this looks like going forward. Whether we can get a new house or rebuild the one we have. So, that’s a big question because our job is to keep people off the street and help them stay sober and connected," said Kacy Keith, owner of Sober Beginnings
However, hope is already on the horizon for the group. The Billings community has stepped up in "big way" according to Keith. The residents are currently staying at the SureStay hotel in Billings until the facility can figure out its next steps. And donations have been pouring in.
"I’m just totally overwhelmed with gratitude from people that’ve helped. We have a whole room full of clothes. I don’t know where to even start," added Keith.
And that’s not all.
Before the sun had set Friday, Keith received a call she never expected, from New Day Ranch, a sober living facility in Billings. About a home they have available in Lockwood.
"When we heard this happened, we thought 'you know what? We have room for 13 men in a very workable house that’s vacant right now.' We’re paying the utilities already and it’s like how can we let people who are really striving to lead their lives, how do we leave them alone?" said Sheri Boelter, CEO of New Day INC.
Sober Beginnings is now figuring out its future and "thankful for the generous offer." Thankful to have options.
"We have to really take into account how many people walk places, we’ve had full houses where nobody drove. So, if nobody drives, how do we transfer people to work and meetings and things like that? It's something we have to consider," Keith said.
But Keith said she feels the fear so many felt during the fire, has been replaced by "another feeling." One of thankfulness.
"I’m completely full of gratitude from the Billings community because I’ve gotten so many calls and texts. First and foremost, I’m glad everyone is ok," Keith said.
If you would like to donate, there is a GoFundMe set up for Sober Beginnings. You can also drop men’s clothes, shoes, backpacks, and toiletries off at Groomingdales at the corner of 15th Street West and Central Avenue or at the SureStay Plus Hotel at 3040 King Ave. W.