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From Addiction to Freedom and Self-Sufficiency

Bridge/Grace House’s philosophy is that all of their clients, despite their difficulties, possess great potential and the ability to transform their lives.

Second installment of the “Self-Sufficiency Series: Solutions from the Field”

Consistent with President Trump’s Executive Order on Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility, HHS’s Strategic Plan sets goals for HHS to encourage self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, eliminate barriers to economic opportunity, and to prepare children and youth for healthy, productive lives. This blog is part of the Self-Sufficiency Series: Solutions from the Field, which profiles local programs from across the country finding solutions to accomplish these goals.

People with a substance use disorder must sometimes overcome significant barriers to finding meaningful employment. HHS has set a strategic objective to reduce the impact of substance use disorders through prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery support, making this group a priority population for HHS in identifying lessons from the field to help such individuals get and keep work. For many people hoping to move from active substance use into recovery, financial, social, and health-related barriers can seem daunting. One treatment provider in New Orleans provides an example of how communities across the country are working toward these shared goals. Clients of this provider receive a suite of services delivered by a skilled staff helps hundreds of people navigate their way to a healthy, productive life – including progress toward employment and self-sufficiency.

Bridge/Grace House in New Orleans delivers innovative, comprehensive, and transformational substance abuse treatment services that are consistent with the Principles of Economic Mobility contained in the President’s recent Executive Order on reducing poverty in America by promoting opportunity and economic mobility. Bridge/Grace House is a long-term residential program offering gender-specific care for over 800 homeless, uninsured, and indigent men and women each year. Through the Louisiana Department of Health, Bridge/Grace House receives funds via SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

The majority of its clients have suffered trauma and other complications that often accompany people with a substance use disorder. These complications can cause people to consume intoxicating substances to alleviate uncomfortable emotional responses. On average, each client has been arrested 8.8 times and has experienced over four previous treatment episodes. The treatment team at Bridge/Grace House addresses these issues, which helps free people from a chronic addictive cycle.

Bridge/Grace House’s philosophy is that all of their clients, despite their difficulties, possess great human potential and the ability to transform their lives. This philosophy closely mirrors SAMHSA’s belief that treatment works and people recover. Each client is assessed and treated according to his or her unique strengths and needs, with priority admission for pregnant women.

As a part of recovery, vocational development, emotional maturity, and personal responsibility are cornerstones of the Bridge/Grace House program. Through its Working Recovery program, clients rediscover their intrinsic value as they acquire new real world skills.

The Working Recovery program provides ongoing vocational counseling to help clients prepare for lasting recovery and success after leaving residential treatment. Bridge/Grace House has relationships with local businesses that employ many of the program’s alumni. According to Bridge/Grace House, approximately 96 percent of  clientele who complete treatment leave the program successfully employed. For example, one of Bridge/Grace House’s building engineers is a former client who worked with the senior engineer while in the facility.

The Bridge/Grace House team has learned that when their clients are able to sustain employment, they are also more likely to assume personal responsibility in all facets of their lives, including their legal and medical commitments. Bridge/Grace House is a national success story and serves as an example of the work happening across the country under SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block Grants that is aligned with the HHS priorities to reduce the impact of substance use disorders and eliminate barriers to economic mobility. Programs such as this one act as beacons for resolve and hope for all people in recovery.

Bridge/Gate House in in New Orleans, Louisiana is Substance Use Treatment and Vocational Rehabilitation Program

Content last reviewed on July 19, 2018

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