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McGovern, mayor talk Franklin Recovery Center success, expanding programs

  • Greenfield Mayor William Martin speaks to staff and patients at the Franklin Recovery Center on Friday, April 21, 2017. Martin and Congressman Jim McGovern toured the rehabilitation facility. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Congressman Jim McGovern speaks to staff and patients at the Franklin Recovery Center on Friday. McGovern and Greenfield Mayor William Martin toured the rehabilitation facility. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline



Recorder Staff
Friday, April 21, 2017

GREENFIELD — When the Behavioral Health Network’s Franklin Recovery Center opened last July after extensive building rehabilitation, staff set to rehabilitating people.

After 10 months of helping residents ages 18 and older in overcoming substance abuse, staff met with Congressman Jim McGovern and Greenfield Mayor William Martin Friday afternoon to celebrate the efforts that led the center to exist, and to discuss how expanded resources could be offered in the future.

“We came up with a way to bring this very dilapidated former gem of a (building) back to life,” explained Behavioral Health Network President and CEO Katherine Wilson. Currently, the center has 32 beds and serves both men and women who are in the early days of recovery.

“This was a real community effort, and it’s all for people who want to turn their life around,” Martin said.

Both Martin and McGovern commended the group of about a dozen patients in the audience on their commitment to recovery, and expressed the need to expand services. In particular, Martin spoke of a new program he is planning, in which a living space would be available for recovering addicts who are able to maintain a job with an employer who would partner with the project.

“It’s in the early phases,” Martin told The Recorder. “The options for property are numerous.”

Residents would need to set aside a part of their paycheck into a savings account every month, Martin said, and be compliant with their treatment plan. He plans to bring the idea before the Greenfield Housing Authority, and has some ideas for funding, including a $250,000 grant that Greenfield has already received.

“We’re looking at implementing a program at virtually no cost so far,” he said. Another idea to fund the program after its implementation would be to negotiate payments in lieu of taxes with nonprofit organizations that would benefit the project.

Additionally, Wilson said there is another building on the property next to the Franklin Recovery Center and the Northern Hope Center, which provides a next step in the recovery process for patients who leave the Franklin Recovery Center. She hopes the building can one day be used to offer a sort of “step down” program for recovering addicts following the 14-day program, where patients could reside for as long as six months.

“We’d connect them to community resources, housing if they need it, so they can begin to plan for after six months,” she explained.

Still, McGovern said it’s important for legislators to work to hold onto the funding that already exists, as he said the Trump administration is discussing cutting funding to health care and Medicaid.

“We have some fights on our hands,” he said. The patients, he continued, need support to overcome their addictions “and that includes health coverage.”