SOUTH BEND — For the past three years Upper Room Recovery Community has been hearing about the need for safe, stable housing for women recovering from addiction. The nonprofit, which opened in 1982, has offered housing for men committed to recovery, but now Upper Room is one step closer to providing help to an under-served population.
Saturday, Upper Room began to prep a house on North Main Street in South Bend for renovation, which will be the site of its new women’s housing. The nonprofit operates out of the First United Methodist Church on North Main Street and currently provides beds for 30 men. The new women’s housing, located right next to the church, will have 20 beds for women, Rich Fox, executive director, said.
The goal is to open the housing in January, he said, but the need for the service is urgent. When Upper Room conducted a needs assessment, Fox said, local agencies like Oaklawn and the St. Joseph County Drug Court told them they could fill the beds immediately.
“There’s a big need for recovery residences for men and women, but certainly women are being underserved,” said Linda Jung-Zimmerman, assistant director of Upper Room.
While the Upper Room staff knows working with women will present a whole new set of needs, Jung-Zimmerman said, the women’s program will closely mirror what is already in place. Each resident is required to attend daily 12-step meetings for their first 90 days and three meetings a week after. Residents also receive mental health and addiction assessments through Oaklawn and then must follow the recommended treatment or therapy.
The typical length of stay for successful residents is approximately 12 months, although longer stays are allowed depending on goals and progress of the individual. When the women’s housing opens, Fox said, they are going to start with about 12 women. Despite the need, Upper Room wants to make sure the new program is being done right and that they are getting women focused on their recovery.