Fresh Start plans new recovery location on Center St.

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 5:57 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - 100 Center St. will now serve as a space for housing, counseling, social and medical detox services and above all, recovery.

This is thanks to Fresh Start Sober Living, who will being adding a 15th location after receiving $500,000 from Bangor’s pandemic relief funds.

“Fresh Start has applied and received other ARPA funds,” explains Fresh Start President Scott Pardy. “A lot of the battle has been around that we are a for-profit instead of a nonprofit. They asked if I wanted to apply, I said, ‘Well, we’re a for-profit’ and they said ‘It doesn’t matter’ but you know, things change and people get nervous and so that’s been a major obstacle to overcome.”

Currently, Fresh Start is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization. With four employees including Pardy, the organization has always depended on grants and even Pardy’s personal retirement fund to secure recovery locations.

With seven apartments available, the space will serve as a place to socially detox until one can return to a recovery home. The Center St. location provides ample access to social and medical detox treatments, so the Fresh Start team is hopeful in its efficacy.

“Having SaVida right here in the same building with us allows us to have their counseling system, their medically assisted treatment programs for people with opioid use disorder as well as counselors and recovery coaches in the same building,” says Pardy.

From January to June this year, Maine’s Monthly Overdose Reports have already logged over 5,000 drug overdoses statewide. Substance abuse and addiction disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, like those experiencing homelessness. According to MaineHousing’s Point in Time survey from January, more than 4,200 people reported experiencing homelessness in some way.

For Pardy, the envisioned short-term stays at these apartments will provide a way to detox in a safe and affordable environment to counter these statistics.

“Housing’s the base of the pyramid - housing and food. Without those two needs covered, you have nothing,” Pardy describes. “That’s been a constant battle and that’s what we found and we’ve evolved over the years to be more forgiving when there’s somebody with a relapse, and that’s what kind of spurred all this on, is to have some place for our members, for Fresh Start members, to go if they’ve relapsed but some safe place to come back.”

The newly-secured building is still getting fully fleshed out, but Fresh Start says they work quick! Pardy says the project will be complete in about a month. In the meantime, the furnished apartments are already providing a safe and accessible place to detox and recover.