How OHFA Is Addressing Addiction Through Housing

John C. Clem Recovery House Building

In 2017, Jaden was ordered by the court to spend 90 days at the John W. Clem Recovery House in Athens, Ohio. After struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, he had lost everything and damaged relationships with his friends and family.

Jaden is not alone; across the United States, cities and states are noticing increases in addiction and overdose rates. For example, Ohio has one of the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths in the country. In 2016 alone, over 3,600 people died from opioid-related overdoses.

The John W. Clem Recovery House was built in the 1970s and became a recovery center eleven years ago. The House serves up to twelve men who are 18 years or older and struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. At the time the House opened, it was the only recovery center in the area.

The men who come to the House are deep within their addictions. Ron Lewis, the Executive Director of the John W. Clem Recovery House, says that sometimes they arrive with "only the clothes on their backs." The House attempts to give them a place to call home, he says.

When the John W. Clem Recovery House began operating, managers knew that it needed renovations. The kitchen and bathrooms were original, and it desperately needed a new roof. Water damaged had seeped into some of the walls and damaged the framing. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency provided over $200,000 dollars in repairs and renovations to the facility, including a new roof, improved bathrooms and new siding. For many of these men, the House is the nicest place they have lived, and they feel a sense of pride while living there.

John C. Clem Recovery House Resident

However, across the state, many communities still lack the necessary resources to address issues related to addiction and the opioid crisis. To help, OHFA pledged $500,000 in its 2018 – 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) to create substance abuse recovery housing.

The QAP determines how federal housing tax credits are allocated to create affordable housing across the state of Ohio. In 2018, OHFA pledged to select one development for funding to help Ohioans find stable housing and recover from substance abuse. The property was required to show support from the Alcohol, Drug, Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Services Board in its area and must adhere to national standards for recovery housing.

In 2018, OHFA awarded these funds to Pearl House Zanesville, which will provide 34 units of recovery housing in downtown Zanesville. Both Senator Rob Portman and HUD Secretary Ben Carson have visited this development and praised the ongoing success of this model. Specifically, this program is designed to serve parents with children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

OHFA has pledged another $500,000 in the 2019 funding round to create more recovery housing in Ohio.

At the John W. Clem Recovery House, Jaden found a second chance. He attends regular addiction recovery meetings at the House and has built positive relationships with his fellow residents. Although the court only required 90 days, he thinks he will stay at the House longer; residents typically spend six months there. Jaden says that his parents are more proud of him than they ever have been, and he feels hopeful.

This place helps me a lot... probably saved my life or saved me from going to prison or even worse.

Through these types of safe, affordable housing, OHFA aims to help more Ohioans recover from substance abuse disorders and rebuild their lives.

For more information on OHFA’s affordable housing programs, visit our website.