One in four people in Kentucky has a substance abuse problem.
It’s a statistic that Dr. Allen Brenzel knows well. As the medical director of of the Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities for the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Brenzel is on the front lines of the state’s multipronged fight to prevent addiction and provide treatment to addicts.
“One of the areas that we are missing is recovery support,” Brenzel said Tuesday.
But at the ground-breaking for the Hope Center’s newest 48-unit sober living apartment on West Loudon Avenue, next to the Hope Center’s George Privett, Jr. Recovery Center. The new building will also have community rooms for Narcotics and Alcoholics Annoymous meetings. Residents there will also have access to other Hope Center services.
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When completed in 2019, the $7 million building will be the Hope Center’s third sober living apartment complex. Demand for sober living apartments keeps growing as the number of people struggling with addiction continues to surge.
The Hope Center’s two other sober living apartment complexes for recovering addicts — the Barbara H. Rouse apartments for women and Hill Rise Place for men — are consistently full. The new building is funded through private donations from the foundations of Cathy and Don Jacobs and Gene and Jean Cravens, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, Central Bank and $400,000 from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government affordable housing grant program.
Vice Mayor Steve Kay said Tuesday the city’s $400,000 will be leveraged to serve two acute needs in Lexington — addiction treatment and affordable housing. In a little more than three years, the affordable housing fund has awarded $11 million to retain or build 11,960 affordable housing units, he said.
Cecil Dunn, Hope Center executive director, said during Tuesday’s ground-breaking ceremony that safe, affordable, drug and alcohol free housing can keep an addict from relapsing.
“Our new permanent housing building will address and serve exactly this need, giving our clients a better chance to stay on their path to self-sufficiency,” said Dunn.
In addition, the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has pushed homeless providers like the Hope Center to provide permanent, long-term housing instead of short-term or transitional housing. The Hope Center serves both the homeless and provides drug and alcohol treatment.
Construction on the Integrity Architecture-designed building will begin immediately and it will likely be open sometime in the later part of 2019, said Carrie Thayer, director of development for the Hope Center. The new apartments will serve men and will double the number of sober-living apartments Hope Center has for male addicts leaving treatment. It is the first sober-living apartment building the center has built since the completion of the Barbara H. Rouse apartments for women on Versailles Road in 2009.