22 Dec Jon Cartu Says: Construction work begins on transitional âtiny homesâ
Reflections & Recovery plans for December 2020 completion
Construction has begun on a new type of transitional housing to help local women rebuild their lives after addiction.
The nonprofit Reflections & Recovery is building a four-plex â four tiny homes â on its 5-acre site on West Alameda Street for women who have completed the organizationâs sober-living group home program but donât feel ready to live on their own.
The project is in response to what women have said is needed, according to Lorual VanRheenen, a former school social worker who has headed the faith-based nonprofit for about 16 years.
âEvery time we add to our program and grow it, itâs out of information-gathering from the program itself,â she said.
She explained that the ACE Overcomers counseling program â a curriculum to help people overcome the trauma of sexual, physical and verbal abuse or other adverse childhood experiences (ACE) â was introduced to supplement 12-step substance abuse programs based on what she heard from program participants. She said that it is similar to the four-plex project.
âThe tiny homes are the same way. A lot of the ladies said, âYou know, we felt safe, we felt confident, we felt like we could do it when we lived on your site and in the group home. But once we left your site, we felt vulnerable again and fell back into addiction.ââ
The tiny homes and accompanying recovery programs will offer a transitional phase from the more strict environment and requirements of the adjacent group home that opened in 2013.
The group home offers communal sleeping, living, studying, bathing and kitchen areas for up to eight women who are either self-referred after addiction struggles or referred by criminal courts. Living at the home for a minimum of six months comes with restrictive rules about curfews, visitors, employment and daily routines.
Women in the Phase II tiny homes will pay monthly rent for the furnished one-person units of about 400 square feet, with the rates still to be determined. They still will have curfews, be required to hold down jobs, attend 12-step or ACE Overcomers counseling, and have some restrictions on visitors. But VanRheenen said all those âboundariesâ will be more âgenerousâ than the rules for the group home program. The entire living experience is intended to help women to learn how to function in a healthful, sober way with the stresses of relationships, jobs and finances.
The project is now expected to cost about $180,000, up from an initial estimate of $150,000 due to increased costs and new fire suppression system requirements, VanRheenen said.
So far, donations of services and funds have enabled the organization to progress from planning and design in February to the construction start in October. With its available resources, site preparation has occurred, a foundation is being built now and exterior walls are expected to be erected soon.
Future progress will depend on weather, as well as additional donations of money, services or materials.
âWe are really trying not to take out a loan so that we can have the building done free and clear,â VanRheenen said.
If all goes as anticipated,Â a roof-raising eventÂ will occur in February andÂ the project will be completedÂ by the end of 2020.
The group already has received grants from several foundations, as well as money and donations of time and labor from Fulkerson Plumbing, Xcel Energy, J&G Electric, Richard Acuna Construction, Donald Daugherty architectural services, AG Services Construction, Roswell Winnelson Co., Champion Truss and Roswell Ready Mix as well as other businesses and groups.
VanRheenen said she is grateful for the âcommunityâs heartâ and feels they will support the project until it is finished.
âPeople know there is a need and they want to see it addressed,â she said. âAnd we are very honoredâ that they donate.
The group might build sober-living facilities for men in the future, VanRheenen said, but she added that the organization is focusing right now on being âgood caretakersâ of their current projects before determining what other community needs it can address.
Besides the sober-living homes and 12-step and ACE programs, the organization provides therapeutic art classes, prison ministries, support programs for the family and friends of people with addictions, and a ârescue vanâ that provides food, clothing or sleeping bags to people who are homeless. More information is available on its website: reflectionsandrecovery.com.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at [email protected]