Portland’s Freedom Place to help women overcome their addictions

As Maine drug overdose deaths rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is new hope for women struggling with addiction and recovering. Freedom Place opened in Portland on Tuesday. It offers 38 bedrooms in a communal living environment with communal kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. Freedom Place is only for women who want to overcome addiction and homelessness first, “said Kevin Bunker, developer of Freedom Place. Bunker, which is also Portland’s new homeless shelter with 200 beds, the building that now houses Freedom Place could have been converted into luxury apartments. “With real estate, you can achieve more than one goal. You can make money and do something really cool, do things that are great for the community, and try to live your values. I mean, I can live my values ​​through my job, ”said Bunker. Most Freedom Place residents will live on their rent, which is paid for by Maine Housing or Portland’s General Aid Fund. Freedom Place is named after Freedom Hamlin, who was one of 504 Mainers to die of a drug overdose in 2020. Freedom House’s logo is based on one of Hamlin’s jewelry designs – their families can grow and get the support they need and the help they need, ”said Hamlin’s daughter Alex Bunker in 2021, estimated to be more than 600 drug overdose deaths . “The need is greater than any data can tell,” said Brian Townsend, Amistad executive director. “This is a home. I think that’s the most important thing. This is a permanent home for someone. “Townsend said he anticipates the 38 units will fill up quickly and that there will be a waiting list in the near future.

As Maine drug overdose deaths rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is new hope for women struggling with addiction and in recovery.

Freedom Place opened in Portland on Tuesday. It offers 38 bedrooms in a shared living environment with communal kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms.

Freedom Place is only for women who want to overcome addiction and homelessness.

“One of the ideas of recovery and helping people get back on their feet is to live first,” said Kevin Bunker, developer of Freedom Place.

Bunker, who is also building the new 200-bed homeless shelter in Portland, may have converted the building that is now Freedom Place into luxury apartments.

“With real estate you can achieve more than one goal. You can make money and do something really cool, do things that are great for the community, and try to live your values. I mean, I can live my values ​​through my job. ”Said.

Most Freedom Place residents will live on their rent, which is paid by Maine Housing or the Portland General Relief Fund.

Freedom Place is named for Freedom Hamlin, one of 504 Mainers who died of a drug overdose in 2020.

The logo for Freedom House is based on one of Hamlin’s jewelry designs.

“I hope it will save many families from going through what I and my family went through and that women and their children and their families grow and get the support they need and the help they need,” said Hamlin’s daughter, Alex Bunker, said.

Amistad, a not-for-profit group based in Portland, will lead the facility at a time when drug deaths continue to rise in Maine. In 2021 there is expected to have been more than 600 deaths from drug overdose.

“The need is bigger than any data can tell,” said Brian Townsend, Amistad executive director. “This is a home. I think that’s the most important thing. This is a permanent home for someone. “

Townsend said he expects the 38 units to fill up quickly and that there will be a waiting list in the near future.

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