Washington County celebrated the opening its first residential addiction recovery center in Barre on Wednesday, a project five years in the making.
Foundation House, which will officially open in January, will provide housing for six women and their children, while offering sober living and recovery services.
Foundation House was created by Downstreet Housing and Community Development. It will be operated by the Vermont Foundation of Recovery. The renovations and weatherization was funded by federal dollars and five main funding partners
“Vermont is really the first one to use this federal money that was allocated probably two and a half years ago,” says Former Executive Director of Downstreet Eileen Peltier. “It’s because Vermonters come together and say, ‘How are we going to do this.'”
Nicola Anderson, director of real estate development with Downstreet, says housing is a critical need, but people with substance use disorders have a harder time getting it.
“The fact that there’s no other recovery residences in central Vermont for women and children — that speaks for itself,” Anderson says.
Foundation House has two independent units on the first floor, and three floors of communal living for up to four women and their children. “We understand that housing doesn’t come in this one size fits all category,” Anderson said. ” We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home.”
David Riegel of the Vermont Foundation of Recovery says the program will help its residents eventually move into permanent housing. Foundation House is partnering with area agencies, including the Turning Point Center, to provide recovery services,
The house will have rules, such mandatory attendence in recovery meetings and 20 hours per week of work, volunteering or education. A house manager to make sure thee rules are followed.
“We worked really hard to make an atmosphere that’s safe and supportive and that really provides some autonomy for the members to create their own culture within the home, hold each other accountable, and provide some peer support” Riegel said.
Peltier said the motivation needed to recover from substance use in many forms. “That’s what recovery’s all about,” she said. “It takes individual determination, and it takes community. And to thrive in life, we all need a place to call home.”