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Faith organization to run county's first male recovery residence

By KARLEE STEFFANNI • Sep 23, 2017 at 10:00 PM

WILLARD — An all-male recovery home is set to open in Willard at the end of October.

The sober living residence will be operated by a local, faith-based, nonprofit organization.

The project, known as the House of Hope, was approved at the recent Huron County Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ADAMhs) meeting. 

The board currently funds the Miriam House, which provides transitional housing for women and children. The House of Hope will broaden that scope, providing the community with a men’s recovery home for four to five males in Willard.

The board recently received funding of more than $75,000 from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction services for recovery housing, ADAMhs Executive Director Beth Williams said. The majority of that funding will be used for House of Hope operation and start-up costs.

“Environment is essential to recovery,” Williams said. “When a person with addiction begins recovery, it is very difficult to live in the same environment with the same triggers and to stay in recovery.” 

The recovery home is set to open near the end of October at 115 Woodbine Ave.

It will be considered a Level II recovery residence, as defined by Ohio Recovery Housing standards. Level II facilities provide residents with support services such as mentoring and drug screening. No clinical treatment or services are provided in-house. Williams said residents will have access to off-premises group support and professional treatment.

In-house operations will be run by Starting Point Outreach Center, a non-profit, faith-based organization in Willard.

In the past, Williams said Starting Point has provided support to local residents and families in times of crisis.

“Starting Point is led by a director and governed by a board of directors. The House of Hope will be led by a senior resident who will live on site and an administrative board,” she said.

This will be Starting Point’s first experience running a recovery home.

Executive director Donald Peeler said the organization has spent a lot of time doing their homework.

“This is new to us,” he said. “We’ve visited quite a number of existing houses in surrounding counties.”

He also said the advisory board will include members who have been affected by addiction firsthand. 

In a prepared statement on Tuesday, Peeler laid out the requirements for acceptance to the residency program.

“Candidates will undergo a criminal background check, complete an extensive application and be interviewed by the advisory board. We will not accept persons with convictions for arson, sex offenses or persons convicted of any violent crime,” he said.

The executive director also said “extensive house rules” will be in place to define expected behaviors for residents. Rules will be enforced through various measures, including “random drug and alcohol screening.”

“The premises will be equipped with a camera security system,” Peeler said. “Starting Point personnel will have regular access to the premises.”

Although Starting Point is a faith-based organization, Peeler said tenants will be encouraged, but not required, to attend church or Bible study.

“We believe strongly that religion can help the process of recovery, (but) we’re not forcing religion on people. We just want to see people get the help they need,” Peeler said.

Although the organization is faith-based, Peeler said it is not associated with any one denomination.

“We are a community-based organization,” he said.

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