Transitional housing for addiction recovery needed in Berrien County

Last week the writer of a controversial blog post called Benton Harbor one of the drunkest cities in the state. ABC57's Alexandra Koehn looked into recovery systems in Berrien County lacking licensed transitional housing for recovering addicts.

"The referrals that we would make would be to a licensed home that uses evidence based practices and that's what we're missing in Berrien County," said Kathy Wenger, the Riverwood Center Intake Supervisor.

The Riverwood Center in Benton Harbor is blooming with psychiatrists and experts. But once recovering addicts receive their treatment, it's sometimes easy for them to fall back into old habits.

"People don't have a lot of extra resources to move out of the area or change that, so they need to be able to survive in their own environment," said Bette Spearritt, Riverwood Center Substance Use Disorder Supervisor.

Last year, a non-profit stepped in to Berrien County to help recovering addicts do just that. They launched a detox and residential center at 6418 Deans Hill Road in Berrien Center, Michigan.

"We have outpatient we have other things, but really in the continuum, residential and detox was missing," said Tricia Johnson of Sacred Heart's Serenity Hills Recovery & Wellness Center.

Now they have this facility to help patients detox from their addiction, they are looking to launch that next step - transitional homes across the county that are monitored by medical professionals.

"Going from a residential setting to nothing, going back in the world with no supports and no changes, really doesn't make for a good outcome," said Johnson.

Johnson says their biggest obstacle right now is funding, and they hope through raising awareness, more people will start a conversation about opening recovery homes in this area. 

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