AUBURN — A seven-bed house serving women recovering from substance abuse disorders is looking to open soon in Auburn.

Journey House Recovery, a Portland-based nonprofit providing low-barrier, low-cost sober living to people recovering form substance use disorders in Maine, now operates three recovery houses, all in Maine.

A substance abuse disorder occurs typically when a person’s use of alcohol or another drug leads to health issues or problems at work, school or home, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Jesse Harvey, founder and program director of Journey House Recovery, said the organization’s goal is to provide barrier-free, low-cost housing for women in recovery.

Those barriers are obstacles that keep people out of recovery programs. Common obstacles include criminal history, a lack of insurance or financial instability.

Residents of the Auburn House will be required to pay a $200 move-in fee and monthly rent. Harvey said 50 percent of Journey House residents pay nothing at move-in time, and many are awarded scholarships.

“We see it as our duty to provide them with the recovery-oriented housing they need, but have been deprived of,” Harvey said.

The house takes an evidenced-based role in recovery, meaning it incorporates treatments from peer-reviewed medical studies, and allows residents to take drugs used to treat opioid addictions, such as Suboxone and methadone.

Harvey says only 10 percent of recovery houses in Maine accept people on medication, leaving some people on the streets.

“It feels like for every 100 beds that are needed, there are only 10,” Harvey said.  “It creates a backlog of people.”

Residents of the new home will be required to meet monthly requirements: Five community-service hours a month and substantial work schedules, on top of weekly house meetings and chores. 

Harvey said many of the men at Journey House’s Lewiston location have quickly jumped back into the workforce.

“Within two weeks, residents are working and contributing,” Harvey said. “We have one resident who works at Walmart and one who works for a staffing agency.”

Harvey said the woman’s house will also help residents reintegrate into society, which should be good for local economies.

“The house will facilitate six or seven woman, who would most likely have not been members of the workforce,” Harvey said. 

Harvey said residents of the house will also participate in relationship-building exercises with the local community, hosting community cleanups and public forums. Each resident is expected to participate in five hours of community service per month while staying at the house.

Harvey said the house is still raising the $9,500 needed to open. That fundraising is from corporate donors and through social media.

The house is expected to open in six to eight weeks, Harvey said, and will be the only evidence-based recovery house for women in Androscoggin County.





Jesse Harvey, back center, has dinner with residents of the Journey House, a Lewiston home for men in recovery from substance abuse disorders. Harvey, the founder of Journey House, is in the process of opening a recovery house in Auburn for women. Pictured are clockwise from lower right: Sam Bardsley, Brendan Barrington, Preston Edmands, Emily Scott, Harvey and Al Carson. Scott is a student at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She is documenting Harvey and the Journey House for a class project. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Journey House founder Jesse Harvey opened Lewiston sober house for men in May. He will open a home in Auburn for women once his fundraising goals are met.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Five men are staying at the Journey House in Lewiston. Six men would be full capacity. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

House manager Al Carson, left, washes dishes with Jesse Harvey following after dinner at the Journey House in Lewiston. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Five men are staying at the Journey House in Lewiston. Six men would be full capacity. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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