BRISTOL VA/TN - A new drug treatment center planned for the Tri-Cities has some potential supporters in Washington D.C. On Wednesday, lawmakers from Virginia and Tennessee got a look inside a former nursing home in Bristol being re-vamped into the Bristol Lifestyle Recovery Center.
The goal is to give people coming out of addiction or homelessness a place to live while they get back on their feet, and to help them recover through a comprehensive life-skills program. Now its management is hoping these lawmakers will give it a boost.
Tennessee congressman Phil Roe and Virginia congressman Morgan Griffith were two in a group of area leaders visiting the soon-to-be treatment and recovery center.
"You have to have a number of different opportunities to try to help people solve the opioid problem and this is one part of that fix, this type of institution," Congressman Griffith said.
The facility will take a non-medical, drug-free approach. Congressman Roe, a former physician, said he thinks the program can work.
"You have got an addiction problem and we know, and what Mr. Garret is trying to do with his organization, is to not substitute the drug you're on with another drug, but to make sure that you don't have drugs in your life anymore," Congressman Roe said, "that you can go on drug-free and enjoy life like the rest of us."
Fairview Housing Management Corporation is the company opening the facility, they also run Manna House, a recovery center in Johnson City. Fairview Housing director Bob Garrett said he's hoping support from the congressmen can help the center get off the ground.
"They might be able to help us with funding in some ways with some type of funding down the road, or bringing in other resources besides funding," Garrett said.
So far Fairview Housing has raised $1.3 million to purchase the property. They need $200,000 more to secure it.
Congressman Roe said there may be grants available to help. Congressman Griffith said similar programs are already federally funded, but it's possible those funds can be moved around.
"We may want to say, let's take money out of this program that's under-performing in this area with drug addiction and let's put it into this program that we think had great potential," Griffith said.
The center will hold 240 beds. Residents are expected to stay up to two years and pay $800 a month.
The program has been held up since last fall due to funding problems, but Garrett said they're actively fundraising the final $200,000 and he's cautiously optimistic it will open this fall.
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