Program is showing positive results with participants

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

One of the most rewarding experiences for Otter Tail County-based Productive Alternatives board members is seeing people develop their full potentials. P.A. has assisted special needs adults since 1959 in west central Minnesota.

A new program, starting its fifth year, is one called Perham 180.

The goal of Perham 180 is helping people in recovery make a transition back into the community. This is attained by providing safe and affordable housing, finding gainful employment for these individuals and offering the support needed to overcome any additional barriers they face.

Located on the northwest side of town, Perham 180 housing is made up of 9 private rooms with each containing a bed, sink, microwave, small refrigerator, TV and bathroom/shower.  

An additional two rooms were remodeled to house the office, community kitchen, and a lounge.

Participants work at nearby Barrel O’ Fun and other businesses in Perham, one of about 7 communities where Productive Alternatives serves people with special needs.

“At Productive Alternatives we believe in all people,” says PA President Steve Skauge. “We value each individual person in our program regardless of their path getting here.”

Perham 180 received startup financial assistance from the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

Crisis stabilization

program successful

Another Productive Alternatives program that people may not know about is the Crisis Stabilization Unit in northwest Fergus Falls.

This program includes a support team that assists people going through a crisis and helps them get back on their feet. 

“We are here to help anyone going through anything,” Skauge says. “Every situation is different and that’s why we approach each situation with a personalized approach.” 

The Crisis Stabilization Unit, in operation for several years, is a 24/7 program with a residential facility and specifically focused on mental health. The facility offers short term stays (10 days or less) but can be extended as needed. 

“We work with the individual to build coping skills and other skills that work for them when trying to meet their goals,” adds Skauge. “We’re here to help people heal and grow.”

The Crisis Stabilization Unit program has bipartisan support from the Minnesota State Legislature.