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Health

New home in Portland opens for women experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder

A new 38-unit home that offers peer support and programs for women who are experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, and trauma has opened in Portland. Freedom Place is a collaboration between a local developer, MaineHousing, and social service agency Amistad, where Meredith Pesce is associate executive director. Pesce says Freedom House removes barriers that women sometimes face in traditional recovery settings.

"Often times there can be requirements for an individual to get access to a program that can potentially be life saving. Those requirements can sometimes be sobriety, or financial," Pesce says.

Pesce says Freedom Place is unique because it targets a population that can face barriers in accessing services.

"We really aimed to offer a setting that caters to women who need to experience home and safety before they can start thinking about how they're going to move forward with addressing addiction or problematic use," Pesce says.

Pesce says Pesce says MaineHousing is providing 25 vouchers for women to live at Freedom House. Women who stay for a year can potentially take a housing voucher with them to access affordable housing independently. Freedom Place uses a peer support model where women will have private rooms, shared living spaces, and a variety of programs to help them gain stability.