National Epidemic Impacts Individuals and Families Battling Addiction; Local Municipalities and Taxpayers Paying the Price

A newly released video produced by the team that launched the nation’s first treatment court affiliated Permanent Supportive Recovery Housing initiative provides insight into the opioid epidemic and highlights the broader impact of the crisis on families and communities. Addressing the Opioid Crisis Through Recovery Housing puts a face to addiction through the story of Grass Lake, MI native Andy Hirst, but also underscores the wider cost of the epidemic for local municipalities, the health care system and taxpayers.

Considered a public health crisis by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioid addiction affects people from all walks of life. It can take years to recover and relapse rates are high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2018, more than 68,000 deaths caused by opioid overdose were reported.

The costs of the opioid epidemic are extreme, contributing to both social and economic burdens nationally. Not only are families suffering from the loss of loved ones, individual taxpayers, health care systems and local municipalities are forced to bear the financial burden caused by the epidemic. Early deaths, substance abuse disorders, lost earnings and productivity losses to employers have impacted local, state and federal government through lost tax revenue. Overdose emergencies, addiction related emergencies, and emergency room visits have increased the cost of police, EMS and fire services in communities nationally. The foster care system is overwhelmed with children from addiction riddled families.

Cinnaire, the Michigan Governor’s office, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), and the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals created the Permanent Supportive Recovery Housing Initiative in response to the opioid crisis. Addressing the Opioid Crisis Through Recovery Housing tells the story of longtime recovery advocate Mike Hirst, who lost his son Andy to heroin addiction in 2010. Cinnaire is leading the effort to develop affordable housing communities that provide support services, job training, court treatment services and more for those suffering from addiction.

“As overdose death rates continue to increase, healthcare costs are skyrocketing and the number of prescriptions rise, we realize we are in a moment of history witnessing this tragic opioid epidemic,” said Mark McDaniel, Cinnaire president and CEO. “The permanent supportive recovery housing model is the first step in holistically addressing this crisis. With public and private resources, we can create affordable housing communities that not only allow those suffering to recover, but provide supportive services, job training and reunification with families. The opioid epidemic impacts and costs us all. We can create pathways forward, but we have to have broad support from local, state and federal resources.”

Andy’s Place in Jackson, MI is the first of several permanent supportive recovery housing projects planned in Michigan to address recovery holistically. Cinnaire and developer Milner and Caringella, Inc. plan for Andy’s Place to offer 39 one-bedroom apartments for individuals referred by the courts along with a separate building with 11 two-bedroom apartments to house families with 24 hour security. Research has shown that a key component to successful recovery is the restoring of families and the program provides the opportunity to keep families together in a safe environment. Rent will be based on income. Individuals without an income don’t have to pay.

“Changing an environment is so important, and a lot of other amenities go along with this,” said Mike Hirst, Father and Recovery Advocate. “Supportive recovery housing is not just about housing people; it’s about giving them real opportunity to survive.”

Andy’s Place will also offer onsite supportive services, including case management and recovery program funded and managed by the Drug Court and recreational and life skills programs, including financial health and employment classes, sober and wellness activities, a greenhouse, and an area to create music. The Community Action Agency of Jackson, the development partner, will provide a resident services coordinator on site examples being job training financial literacy, benefits, education facilitation.

“All residents of Andy’s Place will be participants in the Drug Treatment Courts of Jackson, Calhoun, Ingham, Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties,” said Judge Harvey Hoffman, Michigan Drug Courts. “Drug Courts provide substance abuse and mental health treatments services to their participants, as well as close supervision, including regular appearances in front of the judge to account for their progress in treatment.”

The $13 million project is funded through a public-private partnership that includes investments from Cinnaire, Huntington Bank, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Together, the organizations are working to bring this epidemic out of the shadows and into the forefront with the PSRH initiative.