“Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug-free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence.”
-Dr. Douglas L. Polcin et al, Journal of Psychiatric Drugs, December 2010
In the 2013 Strategic Plan, after interviews with 50-60 staff, community leaders and stakeholders, two issues topped the priority list. Sober housing, especially affordable sober apartments, were needed in large supply to help support individuals with the disease of addictions maintain sobriety, especially in the vulnerable first five years of recovery. Repairing or replacing aging facilities, especially the main clinical and day program building at 555 Merrimack Street and the Recovery Home located on Appleton Street, was also deemed a necessity for Lowell House to provide safe environments that address the ever-increasing treatment needs of the community. Both goals took on an increasing sense of urgency as the addiction problems grew to unmanageable proportions in the Greater Lowell Community.
A Board appointed Real Estate Committee took an entire year to develop a dramatic plan to address the depth and breadth to the epidemic. They have recommended replacing the current facility at 555 Merrimack Street with a four story, 33,000 square foot Recovery Center that includes twenty three studio, one and two bedroom affordable sober apartments on the top three floors and a new treatment and education center with room for expansion and community use. Lowell House is Partnering with the Coalition for a Better Acre, a well-established nonprofit CDC in Lowell, to develop the entire property. Lowell House will own the first floor treatment and education center, the CBA will manage the sober apartments for a fifteen year period and then return that portion to Lowell House. The project is expected to get underway in 2017 and be completed no later than early 2019.
The proposed four-story structure will ultimately be a beacon of hope, a testament to a community’s resolve to address an issue that has no cure but certainly has a solution.