AUBURN — A seven-bed house serving woman recovering from substance abuse disorders is opening in Auburn.

Journey House Recovery, a Portland-based nonprofit providing low-barrier, low-cost sober living to people recovering from substance use disorders, now operates three recovery houses, all in Maine.

A substance abuse disorder occurs typically when a person’s use of alcohol or another drug leads to health issues or problems at work, school or home, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Jesse Harvey, founder and program director of Journey House Recovery, said the organization’s goal is to provide low-barrier, low-cost housing for women in recovery.

Those barriers are obstacles that keep people out of recovery programs. Common obstacles include criminal history, a lack of insurance or financial instability.

Residents of the Auburn house will be required to pay a $200 move-in fee and monthly rent. Harvey said 50 percent of Journey House residents pay nothing at move-in time, and many are awarded scholarships.

“We see it as our duty to provide them with the recovery-oriented housing they need, but have been deprived of,” Harvey said.

The house takes an evidenced-based role in recovery, meaning it incorporates treatments from peer-reviewed medical studies, and allows residents to take drugs used to treat opioid addictions, such as Suboxone and methadone.

Harvey says only 10 percent of recovery houses in Maine accept people on medication, leaving some people on the streets.

“It feels like for every 100 beds that are needed, there are only 10,” Harvey said. “It creates a backlog of people.”

Residents of the new home will be required to meet monthly requirements: Five community-service hours a month and substantial work schedules, on top of weekly house meetings and chores.

House manager Al Carson, left, washes dishes with Jesse Harvey after dinner at the Journey House in Lewiston.

Harvey said many of the men at Journey House’s Lewiston location have quickly jumped back into the workforce.

“Within two weeks, residents are working and contributing,” Harvey said. “We have one resident who works at Walmart and one who works for a staffing agency.”

Harvey said the woman’s house will also help residents reintegrate into society, which should be good for local economies.

“The house will facilitate six or seven women, who would most likely have not been members of the workforce,” Harvey said.

Harvey said residents of the house will also participate in relationship-building exercises with the local community, hosting cleanups and public forums. Harvey said the house is still raising the $9,500 needed to open. That fundraising is from corporate donors and through social media.

The house is expected to open in six to eight weeks, Harvey said, and will be the only evidence-based recovery house for women in Androscoggin County.

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