AP NEWS

Group finds opposition to Homer addiction center proposal

October 25, 2019 GMT

HOMER, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska faith-based organization has struggled to find a location to open an inpatient addiction treatment center for men in Homer, officials said.

Set Free Alaska has searched for a place to put a facility for men fighting addiction since the beginning of the year, resulting in withdrawals of its first two attempts to secure property, The Homer News reported Thursday.

Set Free Alaska operates an inpatient treatment center for women seeking recovery and sober living assistance in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

The Christian organization wants to open a men’s center in Homer with a similar model.

Some residents have resisted in areas the nonprofit group has considered over concerns it will negatively alter their neighborhoods, officials said.

Set Free Alaska is a corporation that also receives public money through avenues such as billing for services through Medicare and Medicaid and state grants.

Set Free Alaska Executive Director Phillip Licht approached the Homer City Council requesting matching funds for a state grant application. The Southern Kenai Peninsula Opioid Task Force had identified inpatient treatment for men as the biggest need in Homer, Licht said.

The state awarded the organization about $1.5 million, although the city declined to provide matching funds.

An initial permit awarded by the Homer Planning Commission in April resulted in an appeal by a resident and Set Free Alaska withdrew the request. The group withdrew a second attempt to secure a different property following resident opposition.

“It is clear to us now that this neighborhood is not supportive of us locating here,” Licht wrote in a letter to residents.

The organization has entered negotiations to purchase a bed and breakfast property, but the sale is not final.

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Information from: The Homer (Alaska) News, http://www.homernews.com