Wednesday, May 25 , 2016, 10:15 pm | Fair 63º

Zona Seca Closing Drug Treatment Center in Lompoc

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

An alcohol- and drug-treatment and recovery program that has made its home in the city of Lompoc for more than a decade will shut its doors at the end of the week because of a loss of funding.

Zona Seca, which has had a location in Santa Barbara for more than 40 years, has announced it will be closing its Lompoc operation after its board of directors came to a decision about the facility two weeks ago, according to Executive Director Frank Banales.

On Friday, staff at the Lompoc location will be receiving their last paycheck, Banales said, adding that most have found other jobs with other drug and alcohol programs in the area.

Zona Seca was asked to move into Lompoc 13 years ago by the Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services Department and the City of Lompoc, Banales said.

Over the last 2½ years, however, there's been a consistent drop in revenue at the Lompoc location.

The organization has been receiving fewer referrals from county departments, while two newer programs — Good Samaritan Turning Point program for women in recovery and Coast Valley Substance Abuse — are also providing treatment services in the area now.

"That's the way it works in our world — anybody has a right to set up a business," he said. Over time, however, "it undermined us to the point where we couldn't have sustained it because of lack of revenue. It didn't work out for us."

The 135 clients the group was serving — down from the more than 200 it needed to stay open — will be transitioned to other organizations.

"Now we're just trying to transition clients to other services," Banales said. "The important thing is that they not be left without services."

The organization needed about $200,000 a year for staff, but had only about $126,000 coming in, and Banales said the shortfall was beginning to affect operations in Santa Barbara.

"We ended up in debt. ... We're going to need to make that up in Santa Barbara somehow," he said.

Banales said he feels like the organization did what it was asked to since being invited in more than a decade ago.

"I think we did what we needed to do," he said. "The only reason we pulled out was there was just no alternative. Now we focus on Santa Barbara and move forward."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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