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September 7, 2021

Caribou rural-living nonprofit gets $260K from USDA

house and machinery Courtesy / Center for the Advancement of Rural Living The Center for the Advancement of Rural Living in Caribou opened Aroostook County’s only recovery house, for six men, in 2020. New federal funds will allow renovations and expansion to a women’s recovery home.

A nonprofit in Caribou that provides social, economic and cultural services has received $260,000 in funds to support development of its women’s and men’s substance abuse recovery homes.

The Center for the Advancement of Rural Living received a community facilities loan of $210,000 and a grant of $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program, according to a news release Friday.

The facilities are the first of their kind in Aroostook County.

The money will be used to purchase and rehabilitate a facility to be used as a women's recovery home as well as another facility to serve as the men's recovery house.

“This critical facility has the potential to change the lives of men and women recovering from substance abuse and put them on the road to healthier and brighter futures,” Acting Maine State Director Tommy Higgins said in the release.

The center is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to provide a continuum of services for populations in need in Aroostook County. Key areas of focus include: arts and culture, economic development, job training, veterans and veteran homelessness, agricultural interests, substance use disorder, and recovery living solutions.

The services include a residence for individuals coming to terms with alcohol and substance abuse recovery as they work to transition back into the community. The facilities will provide opportunities for meetings, peer counseling, educational materials, job training and mentoring and support from live-in managers.

The men’s recovery house opened in August 2020. Plans are underway this year to establish a women’s recovery house.

Bill Flagg, a volunteer and treasurer with the center, cited the program’s lower interest rate and a longer, 40-year mortgage period, compared with conventional financing, along with the ability to package both projects into one application as making a big difference for the small rural recovery house. 

“Our mortgage payment every month is very reasonable,” he said.

In August, the center announced it received a Building Communities of Recovery grant from the federal Substance  Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will be used to develop, build and expand recovery support services and to reduce stigma through peer-to-peer recovery support and community education and events. 

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