New Opioid Recovery Home Provides Healthy Start

At its current rate, the opioid epidemic will claim the lives of more than 2,700 Illinoisans in 2020, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Amid this epidemic, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is a part of the solution, opening its Healthy Start West Recovery Home in March 2020 for adults receiving treatment for opioid addiction.

Located at LSSI's Addiction Treatment Center - Elgin, the recovery home is part of the state's Opioid Action Plan, providing housing for up to 22 residents (at this writing, with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are only nine residents).

"We're looking at many paths up the mountain for residents in recovery," said George Kollias, CADC, Supervisor of Elgin Outpatient Treatment and Healthy Start West Recovery Home. "We support our Healthy Start residents when they're doing well and when they are struggling."

The Recovery Home provides housing to individuals for up to a year while they receive medication-assisted treatment and gain employment, along with peer support, case management, and on-site outpatient treatment. Residents can practice what they learn in treatment groups. Case managers help create individual plans for their next steps, ultimately preparing residents for sober living in the community.

"We offer structure, accountability, and a safe environment," Kollias said. "Clients receive understanding and support from our recovery counselors."

Healthy Start West is housed in a wing of the Center that closed four years ago as a result of the state's budget impasse. The program receives funding from the Illinois State Opioid Response Grant.

Additionally, The Grand Victoria Foundation has been a longtime funder of the Center. The Edwardson Family Foundation provided critical start-up funds, including renovation of rooms and common areas that was also supported by Lutheran Church of the Atonement. The results say "welcome."

"It's a very homey place," Kollias said. "It has become home rather than treatment for our clients."