Harbor Homes aiding in recovery

AmeriCorps members participating in Harbor Homes Recovery Corp. program, from left, Djemi Lazarre, Natasha Davis and Priscilla Matos, review some of their cases while working at Revive Recovery Center on Nashua’s Main Street.

NASHUA – With drug-related deaths surpassing 400 for the fourth straight year in 2018, New Hampshire’s need for more certified recovery support workers seems clear.

Now, Harbor Homes is partnering with the Corporation of National and Community Service and Volunteer New Hampshire to bring a new AmeriCorps program to the Granite State.

Harbor Homes Recovery Corps endeavors to end the opioid epidemic by training up to 20 members in providing support to individuals who are in the processes of recovery.

With organizations in Nashua, Keene, Dover, Laconia, Claremont, Tilton, Center Ossipee, North Conway, Berlin and Littleton, nonprofits participating in the program, Recovery Corps and its members will work with clients who are struggling through the recovery process. They will help with finding transportation, housing, child care and employment.

Officials at Harbor Homes said many of the individuals who have joined the program have personal experience with the opioid epidemic that has swept the nation and has hit New Hampshire particularly hard. According to the the state’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner, New Hampshire has seen 400 or more deaths related to drugs in each of the last four years. This includes 410 in 2018, with 365 of these connected to opioids.

“Many of our members are in recovery, or have themselves dealt with addiction. So they know what it’s like to go through the process,” Program Director Recovery Corps and Grant Administrator at Bridges Erin Segaloff said.

One of the nonprofits in Nashua at which the AmeriCorps members are working onsite is Revive Recovery Center on Main Street. The three members stationed at Revive – Natasha Davis, Priscilla Matos and Djemi Lazarre – said they have gone through recovery and are excited to work in the program.

“It’s a blessing, because we’ve been through this and now we can be on the other side of this and help people, which is amazing,” Lazarre said.

Members of the program will spend the next year serving the community while receiving training toward obtaining the New Hampshire Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW) certification. This will require attending classes, as well as completing the a number of supervised hours. All this will be provided by Harbor Homes and partners.

One of the main forces behind the program, Segaloff said, was the shortage in professionals working in the support phase of recovery. With many of the members of the program already having their previous experiences with the drug recovery, and a lot of them expressing interest in joining the field, the program also presents itself as a way to train these individuals for a career in recovery assistance.

“It’s giving us an avenue to actually give us a career. For a lot of us, we weren’t able to actually to see ourselves in any kind of career,” Matos said about the opportunity the program extends to its members. “So, it’s given us the pathway to do something with ourselves.”

Along with the CRSW, members who complete the required hours at their host sites will be eligible to receive an education award upon the completion of their service.

“If we decide to continue, and further our career and go to college, they help us with that at the end of our year with a scholarship,” Davis said.