ABINGDON, Va., April 13, 2023 — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday at the Abingdon-based Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery (MWLR) center, the result of a collaborative effort featuring a host of community partners and donors.
Support for the project included Washington County contributing $200,000 from funding received from class action opioid settlements, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia providing matching funds of $200,000 and the Genan Foundation committing $150,000. In addition, Washington County provided a supplemental $115,970 to the project from designated Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority funds.
Thanks to the collaboration between these major partners, as well as the generosity of numerous donors, MWLR will provide clinically managed, low-intensity residential substance abuse programming as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
“Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery’s facility will supply Abingdon and the surrounding region with a clinically managed residential substance abuse program specifically for women — an important resource lacking in the region,” said Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact this organization makes to further support healing and recovery options for women throughout their communities.”
Following the success of the Bristol Lifestyle Recovery center for men in Bristol, Virginia, Fairview Housing proposed the residential treatment program in Abingdon specifically to serve adult women from Southwest Virginia. A nonprofit organization providing safe, decent and quality affordable housing as well as recovery housing in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, Fairview Housing is a frequent collaborator with more than 40 community partners throughout the region.
“This opportunity was born from the marriage of a glaring unmet need and a committed group of women, plus extraordinary regional stakeholders and donors,” said Bob Garrett, president of Fairview Housing. “Our organization’s programs are designed to fill gaps in the continuum of care and create positive recovery and treatment options in the communities we serve.
“Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery is the only program of its kind in Southwest Virginia, providing a space and opportunity for our friends and neighbors to heal and recover closer to home and to the support networks that will be crucial when they complete their time with us and relaunch their lives.”
The proposed MWLR project is a direct result of Fairview Housing’s longtime participation in the Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition (ASAC).
“ASAC exists to identify barriers to recovery in our region and to collaborate with other agencies and nonprofits to help remove those barriers and fill the gaps,” said Linda Austin, executive director of ASAC. “With more than 70 percent of women housed in regional jails having a history of substance use disorder, it was clear that the major gap in our area was availability of a women’s treatment facility. We are thankful to be part of the effort to bring a much-needed resource to our community.”
MWLR will be a 54-bed, low-intensity and clinically managed residential treatment program serving adult women from Southwest Virginia working to experience healing from substance use disorder (SUD).
“One of the challenges in being able to overcome active addiction and move into sustainable recovery is the availability of long-term recovery housing and programming,” said Bill Hayter, chair of the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia Board of Directors. “This was evidenced by the input that we received from many experts during our community health needs assessment.
“By bringing these partners together in support of the MWLR program, the women who seek treatment at this facility — who are our family, friends and neighbors — will be one step closer to finding freedom from substance abuse in a place closer to home. We are grateful to partner on this dedicated program for women in our region, which aligns with Wellspring Foundation’s mission of enhancing the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.”
The MWLR program is designed to increase levels of involvement in recovery-appropriate activities. The treatment team works with program residents individually to identify and develop goals that empower recovery, mutual support and positive social skill-building that become the steppingstones to long-term success.
“The Washington County Board of Supervisors was proud to provide funds to assist in the opening of this great facility,” said Chairman Saul Hernandez. “As the only women’s treatment facility within 150 miles, the Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery center will be a welcome resource, not only for our community, but for the entire region.”
MWLR’s goal is to reduce overdoses from substance abuse, prevent overdose fatalities, lower the number of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and significantly lower the broad, unmitigated impact of prevalent substance abuse in Southwest Virginia.
“We congratulate the community and the many champions who worked so hard to open the doors of the Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery center,” said Holly Hatcher, president and CEO of the Genan Foundation. “We are pleased to be a partner in creating a resource for women and their families to heal.”
For more information about Mended Women Lifestyle Recovery, please visit www.fairviewhousing.org/programs/mended-women-recovery.
About Fairview Housing
Founded in 1970 in Tazewell, Virginia, Fairview Housing’s mission is to provide safe, decent and quality affordable housing and services to the people of Southern Appalachia. The organization’s focus areas include emergency housing, transitional housing, permanent housing with supportive services, recovery housing and substance abuse treatment services in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. For more information, visit www.fairviewhousing.org.
About Washington County, Virginia
Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Washington County has deep historical roots with diverse recreational opportunities, along with a unique blend of industry, manufacturing and agriculture. With a population of approximately 54,000 and a total area of 566 square miles, the county is divided into seven magisterial districts and includes three incorporated towns: Abingdon, Damascus and Glade Spring. For more information, visit www.washcova.com.
About the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia
Established in the fall of 2021, the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia exists to enhance the health and wellbeing for the Virginia residents of Washington, Grayson, Russell and Smyth counties by cultivating goal-oriented partnerships. For more information, visit www.wellspringva.org.
About the Genan Foundation
The Genan Foundation upholds the legacy of Gene and Anne Worrell through grantmaking consistent with the founders’ philosophies and family history. The foundation focuses its grantmaking primarily in Southwest Virginia and the Charlottesville and Surry, Virginia, areas. For more information, visit www.genanfoundation.org.