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Nonprofits consider partnership to house women recovering from drug addiction


A potential partnership between two nonprofit organizations could provide some of the north country’s only support for women recovering from drug addiction.

North Country Freedom Homes Inc., Canton, and New Hope Transformation House Ministries, Potsdam, are in talks to offer a supportive-living arrangement for women who have completed a rehabilitation program.

Gregory A. Aldrich, director of services for North Country Freedom Homes, said he is hopeful that a partnership could happen, but added it is too early to confirm anything.

He said he did not want to give too many details about a potential program that is still in its infancy.

“We’re in the very, very early stages of the concept right now,” he said.

If a partnership does happen, it will start small. Freedom Homes will make a single two-bedroom apartment available to women.

“They’ve finished rehab, but they still need some structure and a little more support before they can go back to living independently,” said Carolyn M. White, former director of the chemical dependency unit at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, and chairwoman of New Hope Transformation House Ministries.

Helping women recover from drug addiction has been Transformation House’s mission since it was created by members of Potsdam’s New Hope Community Church in 2012.

Freedom Homes would oversee the apartment, with regular visits from counselors to make sure clients are keeping up with their treatment.

Transformation House, meanwhile, would provide a faith-based approach, with Bible studies at the apartment and encouragement for its occupants to participate in activities at New Hope Community Church.

Years ago, Freedom Homes operated a coed halfway house, but had to restrict it to men only after behavior problems became an issue, according to Mr. Aldrich.

“We found that relationships became the drug of choice,” he said.

Freedom Homes has served only men ever since, but Mr. Aldrich acknowledged the need for care for women in the north country.

“There is a real need for a supportive-living type thing for women, especially for those with children, but that’s not something that we’re big enough to consider at this time,” he said.

In addition to its two halfway houses, Freedom Homes operates several apartments, one of which would be set aside for women if the partnership with Transformation House comes to fruition.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to see our first woman or two in March,” Mrs. White said.

Mr. Aldrich said there is still a lot to do before a timetable could be set.

“I don’t know if we’d be able to accommodate that. I certainly hope we could,” he said.

New Hope Transformation House Ministries initially was founded with the goal of creating a halfway house for women in downtown Potsdam. Its initial grant application to the state’s Homeless Housing Assistance Program was denied, largely because of the ministry’s lack of experience.

Ms. White said plans for the halfway house are still in the works, and the ministry again will be applying for state assistance soon.

It is in talks for a partnership with United Helpers, in hopes that backing from the well-established nonprofit will help the state look more favorably on its application.

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