Local leaders celebrate expanded halfway house

“A miracle has happened in this part of Southern Indiana.”

Help available for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction in the area will increase, as Serenity House cut the ribbon on the first phase of its recovery complex Friday afternoon.

The new building, near Interstate 65 and Stansifer Avenue on Homestead Lane, ups the halfway house’s capacity from 24 beds to 48 beds. Local officials and contributors celebrated the expansion during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s a wonderful facility,” said Judge Vicki Carmichael, who presides over Clark County Superior Court No. 1. “And Serenity House has always done a great job.”

“The countless lives that will be touched by this facility is just unreal,” said Herb Bass, president of Serenity House’s board.

He noted that when the halfway home opened more than 30 years ago, it served only eight people. But through the years, those who have gone through the program have become productive members of society.

“By doubling capacity, we hope to be having the same type of success that we’ve had,” he said.

Mayor Tom Galligan acknowledged that some people don’t like having such places in the community, but he believes it to be an asset for the city.

“Without them, our community wouldn’t be as good as it is,” he said. “Every time we help somebody, we help our community.”

The 24 residents at its old location, on Sunset Drive, have already moved to the new facility. Bass believes the rest of the beds will fill quickly and that a waiting list will likely develop.

Serenity House requires its residents to hold full-time jobs. They also have to abide by a curfew and rules have to be adhered to in order to continue living there, said Executive Director Mick McFarland.

The complex shows them basic ways to live and how to have fun without drinking and drugs, he said. Most come to the recovery complex through the court system or other treatment programs.

Rent is $71 per week, which includes meals and extras such as laundry detergent. The project has taken at least six years to come to fruition.

Financing has been the largest hurdle, along with problems getting the state to release land it owned in the area.

About $2.5 million was raised for construction. Another wing is being planned, which will serve as a meeting house for those living at the facility and those who have graduated from the program.

Another $1.5 million is needed for that part of the complex.
source: News and Tribune, http://www.news-tribune.net