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Healing Place receives $750K grant

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 08:47 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Healing Place of Huntington will receive $750,000 in federal funds to assist in operating additional beds and expanded services at its residential addiction recovery facility at 2425 9th Ave.

The announcement came Wednesday via a press release from Cabell County's congressional delegation. The award provides $250,000 annually for three years as long as The Healing Place makes annual progress in meeting goals set forth in its grant application.

Rebecca Stanley, the center's development director, said the federal dollars will assist in expanding the center's capacity from 46 to 100 beds and implementing a region-wide training program for peer mentoring.

"As I was on the phone, I was jumping up and down with excitement," she said of her reaction to winning the grant. "It's just amazing to know that we're going to be able to help that many more people."

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., issued Wednesday's press release, which applauded The Healing Place's effort to find solutions to assist those battling drug and alcohol addiction. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus.

"I am pleased to have supported this funding," Rahall in the prepared release. "Expanding access to such treatment facilities is essential in addressing substance abuse, and I will continue pressing the Congress for the federal resources necessary in that regard."

West Virginia has just a few hundred beds available for addiction treatment programs, yet tens of thousands of state residents are believed to have untreated drug and alcohol abuse problems.

The federal funds will be distributed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It requires recipients to make annual progress in meeting goals set forth in their grant applications.

The Healing Place's first goal will be to garner an additional $360,000 to construct the 54 additional beds, which the SAMHSA funding will help operate. Stanley said the center hopes to secure that funding through individual and corporate donations, along with additional grants.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword," she said. "Yeah, we got this money, which is great, but we can't fulfill the requirements to get this money unless we get construction money to finish the facility."

A portion of this year's $250,000 allotment gives The Healing Place operational funds to provide the necessary stability and additional staff needed to operate the 100-bed facility. It also provides money to establish a training program for peer mentoring.

That program will enable The Healing Place to educate recovered addicts, regardless of where they received treatment. Stanley said that training will each secure a job as a peer mentor specialist, a skill needed throughout the region.

The Healing Place's goal is to provide that training to 25 men and 25 women.

The Healing Place of Huntington grew out of a grassroots effort sparked several years ago by widespread drug abuse and addiction and associated crime and violence, including the killing of four teens in 2005. It opened in 2011 in the former Lincoln Elementary School building.

Follow Curtis Johnson at Facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD and via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD.