July 29, 2021 – She worries that rehab programs are bringing vulnerable people to Parkersburg who may struggle to get back on their feet.

“If they come and they decide after one or two days they want to leave, they kick them out. They’re on the streets,” Kuhl said. “Then they become homeless. Then they become Parkersburg’s problem.”

But health and recovery advocates say preventing homelessness is exactly why these recovery homes are so important.

“Quality recovery housing is essential to keep people off the streets,” said Renee Steffen speaking to the city council and a packed auditorium Tuesday. Steffen is the executive director of the Sisters Health Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to healthcare initiatives in the area, including recovery options.

“Respectfully, our foundation does not support the substance abuse moratorium as written,” Steffen said.

Douglas Dyer, who overcame a substance use issue, approached the podium that evening to tell his own story. “I choose to live here. I own a home in Lewis County. I came up here for the recovery,” he said.

Dyer said he received substance use disorder treatment at St. Joseph Recovery Center, a rehab center using medication assisted treatment. He now lives at the Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home, a sober living recovery residence.

“I look around this room. A lot of good looking people here, right? You can’t pick out the people that are in recovery from the people who aren’t,” he said.

Dyer didn’t rail against the moratorium. He simply thanked the community, churches and his peers in recovery for supporting him.



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