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New Shelter To Give Hope To Drug-Addicted Women

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Healing Place of Wake County helps the homeless get clean and stay sober. Its program has been only for men, but now there's one to help women also.

The beds are now empty, but the place will soon be full of hope. The separate women's facility opens this Sunday, five years to the day the men's center opened.

"Instead of going to jail or a hospital, they can come in here and be safe," said Healing Place Executive Director Dennis Parnell.

They are women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. They'll have an ally in recovering addict Kristin McCormick.

"I was using alcohol, drugs, anything I could get my hands on," said Kristin.

Then she set foot in the Healing Place in Lousiville, Ky., and cleaned up.

"I never had peers around me that really cared enough, and I had met people there that held me accountable," she said.

Soon, McCormick will be the one holding other women accountable, as a staff member at the new Healing Place in Raleigh. It's modeled after the Healing Place of Wake County, which helps homeless men recover from drug and alcohol addictions. It's seen a 68-percent success rate -- something the group hopes to bring about with homeless women.

"They'll come in here, have food, clothing, shelter," said Parnell. "It's the only entitlement part of the program."

There's room for nearly 90 women, who will go through detox, classes and peer counseling. The Healing Place will also help mothers reunite with their children.

The more effort the women put in, and the faster their recovery goes, the more perks they'll get. For example, they could move from the group room, to a room of four, on to something that looks more like a hotel suite.

The goal is to leave the Healing Place with housing and a job. It worked for McCormick.

"I just want to help other people do the same thing," she said.

Both the Healing Place for women and men are funded through public-private partnerships, including money from the ABC Board.