Hope Center to open new apartment complex for recovering addicts
When the Lexington Hope Center’s new 48-unit sober-living apartment complex opens at the end of May, it will double the nonprofit’s affordable apartments for men leaving addiction treatment.
At any given time, 250 men are participating in alcohol and drug treatment programs at the Hope Center. But once they leave residential treatment, there are few safe, affordable housing options for recovering addicts, said Carrie Thayer, development director for the Hope Center.
“Once they have completed the four to six month recovery portion, this will give them an opportunity to live in an alcohol- and drug- free environment surrounded by others who have also gone through the same program,” Thayer said. “There will also be a lot of support for them —AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings on site.”
The $7 million building was funded in part with private money, including donations from the Don Jacobs Sr. Charitable Foundation and Gene and Jean Cravens. But the bulk of the funding comes from low-income housing tax credits with Central Bank and the Kentucky Housing Corporation and $400,000 from the city’s affordable housing fund also helped pay for the building.
The Hope Center has 40 sober-living apartments for men at Hill Rise Place and an additional 44 apartments for women at the Barbara H. Rouse House. But those units remain full year-round. The Rouse complex was built in 2009.
“We already have a list of people interested,” Thayer said. Rent will be based on income, she said. “We have people who have already been through our program who have called asking about the status of the building because they need a safe, affordable place to live.”
It’s not clear how many sober-living apartments there are in Kentucky. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees most of the state’s drug addiction treatment programs, does not track sober-living apartments for people leaving treatment. The cabinet plans to have a list of sober-living apartments within the next nine months , said Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the cabinet.
But the need for affordable housing in Lexington has been well-documented. One study said the city needed at least 6,000 additional affordable housing units to meet growing demand. Sometimes the most affordable places to live aren’t the best places for recovering addicts, Thayer said.
“Unfortunately, the neighborhoods or places with the most affordable housing also have more drugs and violence,” Thayer said. Some recovering addicts can’t go back to their families or former living arrangements because someone in that home is still using or abusing drugs and alcohol, she said.
The three-story, 45,000-square-foot building is on Loudon Avenue next to the George Privett Recovery Center for Men.
When the building opens in late May, meetings and classes will be held in three classrooms and meeting spaces on the first floor. PNC Bank has sponsored one of the classrooms. The Hope Center is seeking other corporate sponsors for the other two spaces.
The first floor will also have storage and office space.
“When we get donations, we often don’t have any place to put them,” Thayer said.
During a tour of the nearly-completed building Friday, Joey Nolasco of Integrity Architecture said the building has energy-efficient lighting and fixtures. The studio units will have full kitchens with refrigerators and dish washers. Each has its own private bathroom.
Each of the floors will have common areas where people can gather. The building also has an outdoor patio on the second floor and a second patio space behind the building.
The building was designed to encourage interaction and to foster relationships, he said.
“We don’t want people to be alone in their rooms,” Nolasco said.
Tempur-Pedic has agreed to donate beds and each of the apartments will be furnished. The Hope Center still needs bed sheets, comforters, blankets and kitchen utensils for the apartments.
“What this gives people is a clean slate,” Thayer said.