DALLAS - An unfinished building in far east Dallas may not look like much to you, but to Charles Kennedy it’s a vision of hope.
“It just felt like a calling,” he said. “I don't know any other way to say it.”
The old, boarded up nursing home will be repurposed into Directions, a sober living facility where people fighting addiction and substance abuse can stay for 30 days or longer.
Kennedy gave us a tour of unfinished belly of the building.
“It's a little over 20,000 square feet. There will be 19 individual women’s rooms with shared baths... and then to the left, the two stories will be... 24 rooms for men,” he said walking the wide hallways.
Once the rooms are complete, it will cost someone $4,000 per month for room and board, with the option of a monthly scholarship that would reduce the monthly price tag to $3,000.
It might seem like a lot, but consider what’s available now: North Texas has 27 drug and alcohol facilities. Seventeen of them are for people who earn less than $11,000 per year. The remaining 10 facilities cost between $10,000-$50,000 per month.
“I’ve been in treatment facilities a lot,” said Charlie Stobaugh. A therapist for 30 years, she said it’s nearly impossible to find a sober living facility that financially caters to the middle class.
“Some of them stay 60 or 90 days and they're up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I'm not exaggerating that one iota,” said Stobaugh.
The bigger picture for Directions is that, eventually, they will buy a row of small houses adjacent to the old nursing home to create an entire 12-step recovery campus. And, they are well on their way. But, the non-profit needs to raise $6 million.
With the help of significant donations, they have bought and transformed an old bungalow and parking lot behind the old nursing home building – into a place to hold meetings and meditations. There is a walking labyrinth and plans for more trees.
"Our guests will come here, will get dropped off, will walk in the front door ... and will immediately be hit by the simplicity, the beauty and the thoughtfulness which will give them hope," said Kennedy.
Hope exists in every fiber and panel. Each step toward progress is an investment in a community’s recovery.
Copyright 2016 WFAA