MHA Receives MassHousing Funding for Sober-living Renovations

SPRINGFIELD — The Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) is among several nonprofits across the state to share a total of $627,350 in grant funding from MassHousing for 46 new affordable sober-housing units as well as the preservation of an additional 35 sober homes for men, women, families, and senior citizens in eight communities. 

MHA’s grant funds of $75,000 will help it rehabilitate its eight-bedroom Able House for men on St. James Avenue. The facility can accommodate 10 residents who live together in a supportive community under the guidance of a house manager and are active participants in sustaining their recovery.

“Funding from MassHousing will allow MHA to make important aesthetic and structural improvements to our sober-living home for men in Springfield,” said Kimberley Lee, MHA’s vice president of Resource Development and Branding. “These funds are of the greatest importance, but very difficult to find. We are grateful to MassHousing and their team of evaluators for recognizing the merit of our proposal and their willingness to fund MHA.”

The program, which includes an eight-bedroom home on Bowdoin Street for women who are also active in sustaining their recovery, is named for the mission behind its creation that residents be known for being ‘able’ — that is, respectable, accountable, and dependable.

The residences, both located in the city’s historic McKnight neighborhood and near community resources, provide members with access to MHA’s full range of rehabilitation services, including recovery coaching, counseling, and outreach support. Members must attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings and are assisted in finding employment in their journey to living an independent life with needed supports.

The grant funding comes from a nonprofit subsidiary of MassHousing, the Center for Community Recovery Innovations Inc. (CCRI), which helps other nonprofits create or preserve affordable sober housing in Massachusetts for individuals in recovery. 

CCRI has awarded more than $13 million in grants to date for the creation or preservation of more than 2,700 units of substance-free housing in 54 communities. It also funds services for residents in MassHousing-financed rental housing, specifically those that address alcohol and/or drug abuse or addiction.

“People in recovery from substance use have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and these CCRI grants will positively impact those working to overcome addiction,” said Chrystal Kornegay, MassHousing executive director, in a statement. “MassHousing is pleased to provide this resource for sober housing for men, women, families, and senior citizens in communities across the Commonwealth.”  

Other nonprofits awarded CCRI funding as part of this grant for units or services in Springfield include Gándara Center, which will use $14,000 in grant funds to help renovate eight units of affordable sober housing for men at Miracle House in Springfield; and Self Esteem Boston Educational Institute, which will use $23,600 in grant funds to help support new resiliency and recovery support services, as well as job-readiness skills for women in recovery in Boston, Lynn, and Springfield.