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Michigan to invest in more housing for substance abuse recovery efforts

The outside view of Bear River Health's primary location in Boyne Falls, where they provide withdrawal management services. The facility has two in-patient clinics in Gaylord and Walloon Lake, as well as two recovery homes in Gaylord and Charlevoix.
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Bear River Health
The outside view of Bear River Health's primary location in Boyne Falls, where they provide withdrawal management services. The facility has two in-patient clinics in Gaylord and Walloon Lake, as well as two recovery homes in Gaylord and Charlevoix.

Opioid settlements are being distributed across Michigan by the thousands to various counties, and those counties are turning around and investing them into their communities.

Now, the state has decided to invest in recovery housing. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be providing $2.5 million to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), according to a press release from MSHDA.

This money will go into MSHDA’s Recovery Housing Investment Program (RHIP) and will be distributed as forgivable loans. State-certified and accredited rehabilitation facilities can apply for these loans, and, if received, the money will be used to purchase single-family homes to use as recovery homes.

“We are moving quickly to provide housing solutions that work for all Michiganders,” Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of MSHDA Amy Hovey said in the release. “For those seeking recovery, lifting the burden of finding and maintaining housing can reduce homelessness, increase opportunities, and give those seeking help the dignity they deserve to get their lives back on track.”

The press release says there is a lack of available recovery housing in many areas of the state, especially in Northern Michigan. Recovery centers like Bear River Health in Gaylord provide both short-term, in-patient residential services and long-term recovery housing, but Clinical Outreach Officer Chris Frasz said there’s still a need for more.

“We're currently working and trying to get two other houses set up because there's such a need,” he said.

Frasz said that every client they interact with is different, and assessments are done to determine what treatment plans are best for them. He said they look at a variety of factors, such as the history of substance abuse and the intensity of use to determine if patients need withdrawal management services or in-patient residential services.

Patient stays can vary between 30 days for in-patient services, or up to a year in the recovery houses depending on client needs, according to Frasz. He also said the two differ drastically, as one is a level of in-patient care and the other is an optional housing option for outpatient clients. While in-patient stays focus on education and have frequent counseling, most clients in recovery housing are in the workforce and meet with groups or counselors only once or twice a week.

Frasz said these recovery houses serve as a sense of community and allow clients to be around people going through the same recovery process as them. He described the housing as a “bridge” for clients to return home, as going from in-patient services back into regular lives can be jarring for them.

“If a client goes right back to their home or their environment (where they used substances), it's a pretty radical change and that can often lead to relapse,” he said. “It's a huge support in someone's long-term recovery to really instill those new skills, new thinking, new behaviors before possibly going back to one's environment or living on one's own where the structure isn't right there.”

Frasz says the center gets its funding through the Northern Michigan Regional Entity, one of the ten Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans (PIHPs) in the state. The entity covers 21 counties in the lower peninsula, including Alpena, Alcona, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties, and has been receiving and distributing opioid settlement funds.

The two new houses Bear River Health is currently working on are based in Alanson and Cheboygan, which Frasz said they’re hoping to open by the end of this year. Currently, the center has two houses located in Gaylord and Charlevoix. The center also recently opened a new partial hospitalization program in Mount Pleasant.


Copyright 2024 WCMU

Courtney Boyd