Published: January 4, 2023
Categories: Featured Clients
This month, Bridgewell opened its Lotus House Family Supportive Housing Program in Lynn expanding on its recovery and housing services in the area. Bridgewell’s Lotus House will support women and their children who are transitioning out of substance use disorder treatment programs. The program will support them in building independent living skills, healthy relationships, and connections in the community, to reduce substance use relapse. The goal is to help the families living at Lotus House to live safe, self-directed, and productive lives.
Pictured: Painting by an artist in Bridgewell’s Recovery Services is on display at Lotus House.
The lotus flower symbolizes properties of determination, hope, purity and rebirth.
“At Bridgewell, our experience shows that women face challenges when transitioning from residential treatment programs to permanent housing,” said Joanna Huntington, Vice President of Recovery, Housing, and Community Supports.
People in early recovery often need more support than the permanent housing model provides. In this supportive family housing model, individuals will have a natural bridge from one service to another, allowing them to build a solid recovery and support network in their community.”
The services provided at Bridgewell’s Lotus House will be structured to provide case management and stability for mothers currently in or seeking recovery. Family supportive housing is a transitional program, but Lotus House will assist families in receiving the necessary education and services to find and retain permanent housing.
“We have a structure and a layout for the program, but we work hard to learn about each person’s journey and tailor their treatment plans as much as we can to their specific needs,” Lina Abdalla, Clinical Director of Recovery Services, explained.
Bridgewell’s Lotus House is a three-story Victorian single-family home with 10 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The home has additional community space to engage families in onsite activities, supporting growth and development, and fostering bonding and attachment between mothers and children. A child service coordinator will also be on staff at Lotus House.
“Bridgewell believes it is essential to provide families with a home-like atmosphere that is welcoming and inviting to both parents and children,” said Huntington. “We provide a safe and nurturing environment for all families as they work toward their goal of long-term recovery.” Currently, Bridgewell accomplishes this in residential and permanent housing programs using a trauma-informed, client-centered approach. “People in our recovery services take an active role in the participation and development of their personal action plans.”
Families living at Bridgewell’s Lotus House will have easy access to additional resources in Lynn, including Bridgewell’s outpatient behavioral health clinic in Lynn, the Lynn Community Health Center, Early Intervention and the Family Resource Center, My Brother’s Table, The Salvation Army, and a food pantry.
While Massachusetts is renowned for its advanced care, needed programs like these are still lacking in the Commonwealth. According to the Massachusetts State Health Assessment, many pregnant women and mothers are in need of treatment, but avoid settings where they would be unable to carry out their caretaking responsibilities. Between 2002-2008, about 48 percent of women 18 to 49 years of age with substance use disorders received treatment, although research suggests that treatment retention will improve if these programs allow women to remain in caretaking roles.
“This is only the fifth program in Massachusetts of this kind,” said Abdalla. “We’re advanced compared to other states, but that isn’t enough if you think about how many mothers are in recovery or struggling with addiction and want help.”
“We have a great team with extensive experience in running our women’s residential recovery program and our permanent affordable housing programs, so we will bring that knowledge and insight to running Lotus House. I couldn’t pick a stronger team; we have truly caring staff members who will be running this new program.”
“Bridgewell’s goal for supportive housing participants is for the family to achieve stability and self-sufficiency, allowing them to successfully transition from supportive to permanent housing,” said Christopher Tuttle, President and CEO of Bridgewell.” The program will enable mothers to develop independent living skills, helping them be successful when entering a permanent living setting. They will gain necessary skills by relying on staff support and guidance through the early stages of recovery and independent living.”