Friday, Jan 19, 2018
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Unison Health announces plans for recovery housing units

Unison Health announced a plan to develop recovery housing units in the Toledo area, a project contingent on raising about $65,000 by year’s end. 

The two sites — one downtown and one in West Toledo — would have the capacity for 38 adults to live for three to nine months, depending on a patient’s treatment plan and progress, said Unison president Jeff De Lay, who called the recovery housing a needed interim step between detox and independent living.

“We’re able to take people when they are in crisis, we have outpatient services, but we were lacking ability to provide safe, therapeutic housing for clients in recovery,” he said.  

The announcement follows Unison’s opening of a 16-bed detox unit at 1212 Cherry St. in June. The facility is open to Lucas County adults to get medically supervised treatment while weaning off alcohol and other drugs, particularly those looking to recover from an opioid dependency. 

Recovery housing offers a next step for people after detox, which typically lasts about a week. Those leaving such a program in the fragile early stages of recovery often don’t have a place to return that isn’t rife with temptation and bad influences, Mr. De Lay said. 

“We knew there was a need before we opened the detox center,” he said. “The clinical staff said, 'We need safe housing to send these people to.'” 

Some units will be apartment-style, while others will be “more like a bed and breakfast,” with shared kitchen and living spaces, Mr. De Lay said. The first housing units are expected to be available in January and the entire capacity available by late winter or early spring.

The project has nearly $500,000 pledged from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as part of the state’s $20 million commitment to recovery housing approved by the General Assembly in July, said department spokesman Eric Wandersleben. The state mental health department has increased Ohio’s recovery-housing stock by more than 1,000 beds since 2014, he said. 

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County has committed $83,000 in capital funding as part of a required local match, but Unison needs to raise at least $85,000 in matching money by the end of the year. Board members and staff have already committed about $20,000, Mr. De Lay said. They have set a goal to raise $100,000 in that period. 

With the addition of Unison’s 38 beds and a yet-to-be-finalized proposal with the T. Whitehead Recovery Center, the county mental health board will fund 170 recovery housing beds in Lucas County, said board executive director Scott Sylak, including at Zepf Center, A Renewed Mind, and Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs.

There are also long-standing recovery housing programs at centers such as The Open Door. 

To learn more about Unison’s services, visit www.unisonhealth.org or call 419-693-0631.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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