Kentucky cities may soon be able to become certified as Recovery Ready Communities. The Recovery Ready Community Advisory Council (RRCAC) met on Wednesday and heard from Volunteers of America (VOA) about the goals and objectives of the effort and the process.
VOA’s role is to collaborate with the RRCAC to develop the program through which cities and counties will become certified as Recovery Ready Communities. VOA will develop an application process, administer the program, and provide community outreach and education. Proposed strategic goals include reducing the stigma associated with addiction and recovery, increasing resources available for individuals to seek and maintain recovery, and strengthening the Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC).
VOA held meetings with stakeholders across the commonwealth over six weeks, including treatment providers, government officials, and community members. Housing was a significant concern raised in almost every meeting.
VOA and the RRCAC will create criteria for the project intended to decrease overdose deaths, increase workforce participation, and create healthier communities. Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram said he would encourage cities and counties to use Opioid Abatement Funds to become Recovery Ready Communities.
Alecia Webb-Edgington, president of Covington-based Life Learning Center, said she supports the efforts of VOA. She announced that Life Learning Center would host a forum on Oct. 18 to discuss the project within the Covington community.
Also on Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear and Dr. Eric Friedlander, secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, announced a new website to help people in recovery find housing. “When somebody says yes to recovery, we had better be able to say yes back to them,” Friedlander said. “We know the importance of stable housing for individuals to be able to engage in their own recovery, to make that long-term commitment and that long-term support that folks need to get to recovery.”
The website, www.findrecoveryhousingnowky.org, will provide an updated listing of options for those seeking treatment facilities. “Up until now, there’s been no easy way to locate recovery houses, let alone find a house that’s going to meet the individual needs of a person,” stated Dr. Terry Bunn, director of the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center. “What sets this website apart is its ability to provide a list of available beds within recovery houses. It is not just a static list. These recovery houses are updating their available beds on a regular basis.”
Beshear called the site a significant step that will result in more people getting treatment, getting into, and staying in recovery. “This partnership and this service are critical. We know all too well in this state that addiction spares no one.”
Friedlander added that the site would help people in recovery or starting their recovery to search by gender, location, and ZIP code to find available housing. “This, we hope, is the beginning of finding more recovery housing, supplying more recovery, and when people say yes, I’m ready to engage in my own recovery, that we in Kentucky can say yes back.”