Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition buys 63 Washington St.

By Susan Mustapich | Jan 30, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition has purchased 63 Washington St. in Camden, and is proceeding with plans for a home for women in recovery from opiod addiction, and their children.

CAMDEN — The purchase of 63 Washington Street by Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports people seeking help for drug and alcohol addication, was finalized Jan. 17.

Before purchasing the property, MCRC conducted a whirlwind effort to raise the money needed within 30 days. The prior owner, a nonprofit organization also named 63 Washington Street, agreed to sell the property for $160,000, an amount that covered outstanding debt and expenses. The sale price is about a third of the property's asssessed value for property tax purposes.

MCRC plans to establish a home for women recovering from drug addiction, and their children.

More than $160,000 was raised from 400 or more donors, according to MCRC Executive Director Ira Mandel. The fundraising effort was boosted by a volunteer who sent out 4,000 postcards seeking donations. Mandel said that West Bay Rotary, churches, anonymous donors and many others have shown financial support.

In addition to private fundraising, MCRC is researching federal, state and local funding, as well as foundation grants to offset the cost of operation. So many people are seeking to volunteer, that a volunteer coordinator will be one of the staff hired for the facility, Mandel said Jan 29.

A number of public meetings were held in Camden through December and January, in an effort to inform and involve the community, according to Mandel. These meetings have drawn increasing support, but while concerns have diminished, some remain. Since the first meeting, trust has improved because the concerns have been heard and responded to, he said. Going forward, community meetings will focus on specific topics, such as policies and screening for prospective residents, maintenance of the property and volunteer opportunities. All will be open to the public, Mandel said.

Next steps for MCRC are reaching out to the operators of other women's recovery residences in Maine to obtain detailed information, including policies and procedures, staffing and job descriptions. MCRC staff will conduct field trips to a select number of recovery residences, and afterwards finalize the plans.

Communication with the town of Camden will continue, according to Mandel. While there has been discussion with the town about what might be required from MCRC to open the recovery house, Mandel said that nationally, recovery residences are being defined as single-family homes. He said the plan for 63 Washington St. is to move ahead as a single-family residence.

The expected move-in date for residents is between May and June.

For nearly 120 years, the property served elderly residents. It closed its doors in January 2018, because it was unable compete with larger assisted living facilities in the area.

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