Cape Breton will soon have its first live-in recovery home for women struggling with drug addiction.
The Hope Project is a non-profit, live-in program that will offer counselling, skills development and maintenance therapy.
“We have a good program for men here,” said project co-founder Dr. Laura Whyte. “It’s 2017 and we have nothing for women, so we thought we need to create something.”
Whyte established the Hope Project in Point Edward, N.S., just outside of Sydney, alongside her husband, Andrew, and another couple, Chelsea and Ethan Fenton.
She said she was motivated after seeing the extent of drug addiction while practising as an emergency-room doctor in Glace Bay; she said she herself had two of her friends die by overdose.
“These were beautiful, talented young people,” she said. “We need to open more doors of support for people with addiction and Hope Project is one of those doors.”
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Ethan Fenton said the two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-storey farmhouse will serve an average of four to eight women a year, staying from three to 12 months at a time.
The 14-hectare property is next to a river and includes a walking trail and a barn, which Fenton hopes to use to eventually raise chickens.
“It’s not the highest priority, but we definitely plan to use it for a hobby farm,” he said.
The Hope Project is faith-based, will operate on donation and partners with the Grace Fellow Church in Sydney Mines. But Cheslea Fenton said women do not have to be Christian to join.
Fenton, who is also a nurse, said there are three criteria: “You are a woman, who is struggling with some form of addiction in your life, and you are wanting to make a positive change.”
The house is expected to open in January with five full- and part-time staff, including a social worker.