In about a week, Brandy Miller will move into her own room at the Barbara Hardwick Rouse House on Versailles Road. She is so excited, she beams.
"Even if I never did have a home, I have one now," said Miller, a 31-year-old widowed mother of one.
On Monday morning, a proper dedication was given to Rouse House, the 44-unit residential complex that is the Hope Center's newest affordable drug and alcohol-free permanent housing for women in recovery.
Hunter Rouse Kessenger, just before the pink and silver ribbon was cut, said "the biggest supporter, the loudest cheerleader and best friend" women like Miller could have had would have been her mother, Barbara Rouse.
Like Miller, Rouse struggled mightily with her addiction. Unlike Miller, Rouse had resources — her husband was the chairman and chief executive officer of First Security National Bank & Trust Co. — and she got help.
"But she understood about life's obstacles and trials," said Rouse's daughter. "You can't have testimonies without trials."
In many ways, said Kessenger, her mother, who died in 2008, was shaped by her addiction, and this chance to allow others to "grow in freedom and happiness" was its own gift.
Many who helped pave the way this time were on hand, including the Rouse family, which had provided a generous donation. More than $1.6 million in funding for the building came from a Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant authorized by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and awarded through the Kentucky Department for Local Government. Additional funds came through a Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati loan made possible through the assistance of Central Bank.
As Miller walked through her soon-to-be new home, she talked about how she has helped as a groundskeeper and how that responsibility is indicative of her 18 months of sobriety. She had to hit bottom, she said, before she could face all the manner of pain that had been her life.
"I had to feel what I had to feel," Miller said, talking about everything from her broken childhood to the death of her husband from cancer at 25. She said her moment of truth came when she totalled her own car and the car she hit while driving with her child beside her.
"I was smoking a lot of meth. I blacked out," Miller recalled. "That was my bottom."
She has been through detox. It has taken a year to complete the whole Hope Center program.
"I had to relearn everything. It's how I talk, how I walk, how I dress, how I react, how I behave, how I create my own chaos."
Miller is now a peer mentor, teaching others. She was told recently she could graduate to the Barbara Hardwick Rouse House when it was ready. She could go over there and pick her room.
It was like she graduated from being 13, which she says she's been for far too long, she said.
"It's like being an adult now."