PLATTSBURGH, NY– The North Country celebrated the opening of a transitional housing and life skills campus Wednesday. It’s to support people in various stages of recovery from substance abuse.

“It’s been my savior,” said Alicia Schnelly. “This program has been my savior.”           

It’s funded by New York State Opioid Response Grant. Unused dorms from Clinton Community College were converted into recovery housing, able to house nearly 150 people. Currently, about 90 people reside on campus.

“I’m sick of burying friends of mine,” said Michael Carpenter, Founder of MHAB. “I’ve buried somewhere between 100-200 friends of mine in the past 30 years.”

Carpenter is the driving force behind the project and for him, it’s personal. He battled drug and alcohol addiction for many years and wanted to be part of the solution.

The recovery center, operated by the Champlain Valley Family Center, provides classes and support services as well as a place for residents to recreate and spend time with their families.

Current residents say it’s already proven to be a turning point on their road to recovery.

“Quality of life is just better,” said Jay Hinman. “I was a hopeless, miserable, suicidal no will to live, now I feel I have a purpose.”

Exactly the kind of success Carpenter envisioned with this center.

“To help these people and give them every resource they need so they can reach their versions of the American dream,” Carpenter said.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services also announced the launch of the Recovery Tax Credit Program, a tax incentive for employers who hire individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. Eligible employers will be able to access $2 million in tax credits, up to $2,000 per eligible employee, for the 2020 tax year.