BARRE — A report commissioned by Downstreet Housing & Community Development found the state needs more housing for those in recovery.
Downstreet held a news conference on the report at its Barre headquarters Thursday with Gov. Phil Scott and other stakeholders.
The report was completed by John Ryan of Development Cycles of East Montpelier. It states more than 52,000 residents in the state suffers from a substance use disorder. The report said only Washington, D.C,. has a higher concentration of those suffering from such a disorder.
Of those with the disorder, the report said about 14 percent entering treatment would benefit from access to recovery residences, a group housing approach to supporting Vermonters in recovery. There are a handful of such residential facilities in the state, but the report said more are needed.
According to the report, 2 percent of those leaving treatment are offered transitional housing.
“These 212 beds are disproportionately located in Burlington or Brattleboro. Several treatment hubs have no (recovery residence) option. Only one residence accommodates women with dependent children despite the fact that this sub-group represents a significant share of those in treatment,” the report stated.
The state is planning to put at least 12 new recovery residences in place across the state by the end of 2020. They will be located where the need is greatest. The initiative is called “Residences 4 Recovery.”
The governor said an average stay at a recovery residence is about six months so the 212 beds the state has get used twice a year.
“Of these existing beds, 73 percent are reserved for men and 24 percent women. And only one residence provides housing for mothers with children. This is a challenge when you consider about 42 percent of all Vermonters in treatment are women and a significant number of those women have children according to this report,” he said.
Scott said it’s clear the state has some work to do, adding that there are initiatives underway, such as work being done on a statewide rapid-response model to help those who need immediate housing and a possible revolving loan fund for housing.
The report recommends increasing the amount of recovery residences in the state. Central Vermont currently has such a facility for men, but none for women or women with children. While Rutland doesn’t have any such facility for men or women.
Eileen Peltier, executive director of Downstreet, said the report makes it clear that there needs to be a coordinated response from the state to address this issue.
“In Vermont, we have a strong network of housing organizations. Some of which, like Downstreet with our South Barre Phoenix House, are already connected to recovery residences. Many more of us are ready to help,” Peltier said.
The full report can be viewed at bit.ly/0322HousingReport