A lakeside home in the Rocky Fork Lake area will soon be a faith-based haven for women seeking recovery from drug addiction, coordinators said Friday.
Heather Gibson, CEO of Greenfield nonprofit REACH for Tomorrow and president of the Highland County Drug Abuse Coalition, announced in a Facebook post that a local pastor and his wife are converting a lake-area house into a “stabilization housing” facility where women can stay for up to 30 days while they are assessed for addiction treatment needs.
The project was made possible by a grant recently awarded to REACH by Interact for Health, a Cincinnati public health foundation, to fund a Quick-Response Team — a multi-disciplined group that will visit the homes of people who experienced a nearly fatal overdose, and encourage them to seek treatment.
Part of the grant will pay for staff to supervise the lake house 24/7.
According to Gibson, only women who have been contacted by the QRT will be eligible for housing at the home.
Larry Maynard, pastor of Emmanuel Christian Church in Greenfield, and his wife, Carol, have owned the home for a number of years, and previously rented it to hunters and fishermen who wanted to spend short periods of time at the lake.
“We just felt like the Lord wanted us to do something more with that house,” Larry Maynard said. “We got together with Heather, had a meeting… It was almost like I had an epiphany, and I said, ‘Mom and I are in.’”
Maynard said the home overlooks 300 acres of Rocky Fork State Park and the lake. It has enough room for eight people, but only four beds will be available for stabilization services, Maynard said, and coordinators will start by accepting two women, then work up to four.
“It’s an absolutely gorgeous setting for somebody to come chill out and do some thinking,” Maynard said.
According to Gibson, women at the lake house will be given a “comfort pack” of medications from a medical provider to address their withdrawal symptoms while they await assessment results.
“It’s not ambulatory detox, because ambulatory detox means you come into the doctor’s office, they give you prescriptions and you go back home,” Gibson said. “What we’re trying to do is remove them from the environment where they’re using (drugs).”
Eventually, it is hoped that coordinators will find long-term housing or treatment options for the women.
Maynard said that while stabilization housing provides a temporary solution to people struggling with drug addiction, he believes a faith-based approach to the problem, provided at the right time, makes long-term change possible.
In accordance with that belief, staff at the home will share the gospel with the women staying there, according to Maynard.
“I’ve seen absolutely miraculous changes in some young men and women’s lives who come to Christ and get saved, then start searching for the right answers,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to be offering there.”
The pastor also said he believes the opiate crisis is a “spiritual battle to try to capture the hearts, minds and souls of young and old alike.”
“The only answer to this thing is Jesus Christ and his deliverance power,” Maynard said.
Gibson said supplies will need to be donated before the home can be functional.
According to Gibson, the needs include a portable washer and dryer, twin beds with mattress, four box springs, sheets, bedspreads, pillows, a free-standing wardrobe, food items, laundry and cleaning supplies, and toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap and feminine hygiene products.
Gibson also said she hopes local churches and individuals will give financial donations to be put toward monthly utility bills.
Those who wish to donate can call Maynard at 937-466-2338, or send donations to Lakeside Ministries of Larry and Carol Maynard, 11933 Summerhaven Dr., Hillsboro, Ohio 45177.
Maynard said he hopes more churches will begin to intervene in the opiate crisis as a whole.
“It’s my prayer that more pastors and churches become involved in this thing,” he said. “They’ve got to do it. They need not be afraid, but so many of them are because they’re afraid of what they don’t understand… They’ve got to get in the fight.”
The home will open in early January, Maynard said.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.