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MCHC to get $1.5 million grant for transitional housing

Local foundation gets $6,320 for tiny house study

Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation will use a $1.5 million grant to build transitional housing for men recovering from drug addiction in the old Whitesburg High School.

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced the grant Wednesday as part of a $43.3 million POWER Initiative grant program to communities impacted by the decline in the coal industry. The East Kentucky Heritage Foundation Inc. in Whitesburg also received a $6,320 grant for a tiny house manufacturing feasibility study as part of the program.

The MCHC project includes the creation of 22 units of transitional housing for men who are in recovery from substance use disorders. The efficiency apartments will be built in the old English Building on the Whitesburg High School campus, which MCHC purchased a few years ago.

According to a news release from ARC, MCHC staff will work with community partners to coordinate healthcare, education, and other social supports for residents of the transitional living facility. Residents will also receive job-skills training through collaboration with local program partners, including Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP). The facility will be able to serve 44 residents each year and approximately 28 are expected to reach at least two key milestones such as maintaining sobriety, finding a job, or furthering education during that one-year residency. Seven jobs will be created for new staff members.

In a related project, the East Kentucky Heritage Foundation will study the feasibility of providing vocational training to persons in addiction recovery care and hiring them to build tiny houses. The study will be conducted in collaboration with HOMES, Inc., Fahe, and Addiction Recovery. According to the news release, “By using the construction and distribution of tiny houses to support the drug and substance abuse post-treatment to employment continuum, tiny house manufacturing could serve as a model for second chance employment in the region.”

East Kentucky Heritage Foundation Inc. last year received a $3.5 million grant to begin work on Thunder Mountain, an outdoor sports resort to be located at Sandlick. The current grant is unrelated to that project.

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