Governor's Office for Local Development

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 24, 2006  
Contact Information:  Dan Bayens
Public Information Officer

Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Evarts today to break ground for the Cumberland Hope Community, a 35-unit residential substance abuse center for women.  The facility will provide counseling, support and hope for homeless women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.


The development is part of Governor Fletcher’s Recovery Kentucky initiative – a joint effort by the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD), the Department of Corrections, the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) and Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) – to build housing recovery centers across the state.  As transitional supportive housing developments, each center will use a recovery program model that includes peer support, daily living skills training, job responsibilities and challenges to practice sober living.


“Cumberland Hope Community will provide stability for women battling addiction in Harlan County,” said Governor Fletcher.  “The Recovery Kentucky initiative continues to demonstrate the value of collaboration.  Working together, we can provide opportunity for hope and recovery for people dealing with the challenges of substance abuse.”


The facility will serve up to 100 women at a time.  There is a great need for a center of this type in the region; the nearest licensed treatment residence is in Corbin. 


Eastern Kentucky has experienced firsthand the devastating effects of substance abuse,” said Senator Daniel Mongiardo (D-Hazard).  “This recovery center will be an excellent resource for women in the region who need assistance in rehabilitation.”


Cumberland River Regional Mental Health/Mental Retardation, Inc. is the primary service provider for the center.  The facility will be located on land donated by Harlan County, next to the Verda residential community.


“The challenges of substance abuse and addiction are evident in Eastern Kentucky,” said Representative Howard Cornett (R-Whitesburg).  “This new recovery center will allow our community to effectively fight this difficult problem.”


The total project cost is more than $4.8 million, including more than $3 million in funding from KHC and $900,000 from GOLD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.


“I applaud state agencies for working together in developing this worthy project,” said Representative Tim Couch (R-Hyden).  “Women in Harlan County will now have a place to turn to gain the strength to fully recover from addiction and homelessness.”


“Substance abuse is among the greatest challenges facing our communities,” said Representative Brandon Smith (R-Hazard).  “I am very pleased to see us offering solutions that will have a great impact on Eastern Kentucky.”


“This has truly been a group effort, with local and state agencies working hard to make this recovery center a reality,” said Representative Rick Nelson (D-Middlesboro).  “The benefits for Harlan County and the entire region are sure to be enormous.” 


Without a stable place to live and a support system to help them address their underlying problems, most homeless people who also suffer from substance abuse and addiction bounce around from shelters, public hospitals, psychiatric institutions and detoxification centers.  While the chronically homeless only represent one-quarter of the homeless population, they consume more than 50 percent of homeless resources.  It is estimated that the Recovery Kentucky initiative will save Kentuckians millions in tax dollars that would have been spent on emergency room visits and jail costs.


The Recovery Kentucky program emerged in January 2005 in response to the Governor’s Drug Summit Task Force's assessment that recovery programs were essential if Kentucky was to address the escalating drug epidemic facing all regions of the state.    


Recovery Kentucky centers are a service-based facility patterned after the self-help and education model used successfully at the Hope Center in Lexington and The Healing Place in Louisville. The centers provide shelter and a safe place to recover while providing peer support, daily living skills training, job responsibilities and challenges to practice sober living.  The program has been named “A Model That Works” by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


The goal of the Recovery Kentucky program is to have at least two recovery centers in each congressional district.  Half of the centers are designated for women and half are designated for men.  Residents must make the commitment to overcome their addictions, be over the age of 18 and be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.


The Recovery Kentucky program leverages funds from GOLD, KHC, ODCP and the Department of Corrections. These agencies have developed a financial plan that makes available construction and operational financing which includes the allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as Federal HOME funds and Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars from KHC for construction costs. Operational funding includes money from GOLD’s CDBG program and funding from the Department of Corrections. The financing package requires no new state dollars.