Ground broken on expanded treatment center in Manchester

MANCHESTER — City and state leaders marked a milestone in combating the opioid, heroin and fentanyl crisis with the ground-breaking Tuesday of an expanded treatment center and new recovery housing.

The Families in Transition’s Family Willows Substance Use Treatment Center and Recovery Housing, located in the old Hoitt’s Furniture building on Wilson Street, is focused on one at-risk population: women, and mothers with children.

It will provide treatment for an estimated 400 women annually, said Dick Anagnost, a businessman who is chairman of the Families in Transition board of directors.

Family Willows, which is part of the Manchester Recovery and Treatment Center, will feature recovery housing on the second and third floors of the building. There is a Hope for New Hampshire Recovery space now on the first floor, and speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony highlighted the importance of various agencies, offices, and nonprofits working together to combat the public health crisis.

“When we talk about this epidemic, we’ve got to fight it from all sides of the battle, because there’s no question that mothers today are having children that are addicted,” said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. “We have got to find ways to give them shelter, give them support.”

Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, said the response is a work in progress, but one that’s seen significant progress over the past three or four years. He said U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, the former governor, deserved credit for taking steps with the Legislature to improve the state’s response.

Sununu continues the fight, having submitted Friday an application for $6.25 million in federal funding over two years, authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act, to fight opioid abuse in the state.

The funding includes support for peer recovery services, a new re-entry care coordinator with the state Department of Corrections to help women with access to treatment, resources for medication like Naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses, and funding for targeted prevention services for early childhood and school-aged children, whose parents or caregivers have substance use disorder.

“We’re not going to win this overnight, but bit by bit, we are turning this around in the state,” Sununu said at the Family Willows center.

Maureen Beauregard, president and founder of Families in Transition, said the recovery housing and expanded substance use treatment center is about a $3.8 million project. Families in Transition is moving from its location at South Beech Street to the Wilson Street site, which is on the corner of Valley Street.

The expansion project is supported in part by a law last year to support the governor’s commission on alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, which included up to $2 million to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, with the money directed to housing projects for people with substance abuse disorders.

Housing Benefits, an independent nonprofit focused on expanding affordable housing in the state, is the property owner.

Funding for the project comes from New Hampshire Housing, the city of Manchester, Cogswell Benevolent Trust, Community Development Finance Authority, Brady Sullivan Properties, Anagnost Companies, Grappone Automotive Group, Merchants Fleet Management, Eastern Bank, and Kalwall Corporation.

Businessman Arthur Sullivan, of Brady Sullivan Properties, said substance abuse has been a troubling issue for some time. At the ceremony, he recalled that a long-time employee died from a drug overdose not long ago.

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