“We are very blessed to be included in Street Relief this year,” says Owensboro Regional Recovery Center Director Sarah Adkins. “We’re very optimistic about the response and we’re excited to be involved.” Coincidentally, the Ashley Furniture Home Store Street Relief (presented by Cromwell Radio Group) falls during ORRs five year anniversary, they accepted their first clients on February 10, 2010.

Even though ORR has been around for five years, they still don’t have the name recognition that other shelters in town have, which is another reason ORR was excited to be chosen as one of five recipients of the Street Relief campaign this year. Adkins says the proceeds they will receive from Street Relief will mostly be used for services for clients and office and kitchen supplies. “If you can imagine what kind of supplies you have to buy for a household of four or five each week, we have a household of 100.”

ORR is first and foremost a shelter, but it is a shelter with the specific purpose of housing a substance abuse program. Community Resource Coordinator Joseph Johnson says there is a significant link between homelessness and substance abuse. “Many of our guys wound up homeless before they came here. People who are homeless are our priority. We work with other shelters in town, and if they have a resident who is homeless that needs substance abuse treatment they will call us.” While at ORR, the men take part in a six to twelve month recovery program based on the 12 Steps. The goal is to leave with an action plan with a stable house, employment, and steady recovery.

Street ReliefJohnson says close to 400 men have completed the program and transitioned successfully back into society. Not everyone makes it, he says. “It takes sacrifice, accountability, and a lot of hard work. We start from scratch and teach them a new way of living. But what makes it work is our model of peer mentoring. Our peer mentors run this place. They teach the classes that they’ve been through themselves and they each carry a full caseload of clients.”

Right from the start, everyone at ORR has a job and responsibility: cooking, laundry, security, maintenance, or cleaning. As they progress through the program, there are opportunities to volunteer outside the facility. “Our residents volunteer a total of 300-400 hours a month,” says Adkins. “Part of our program is giving back to the community by helping nonprofit organizations.” The list includes the Red Cross, the Humane Society, St. Benedict’s, Habitat for Humanity, Theater Workshop, the Museum, the River Park Center, and more.

ORR is a partnership between Audubon Area Community Services and Lighthouse Recovery Services and is funded in part by Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Department for Local Government and the Kentucky Department of Corrections. If a person is interested in being admitted to ORR, he must first contact staff to complete a telephone screening. The phone number is 270-689-0905 ext. 2117. The address is 4301 Veach Road.

By supporting the Ashley Furniture Home Store Street Relief, you are also helping Owensboro Regional Recovery Center continue their efforts to help hundreds of men change their lives through recovery. Johnson summed it when he said, “This is a great program and a great place. I’ve seen it work many times.”