Support for Auberle
December 11, 2018
Say a company with a good reputation providing an needed service wanted to open a location in the community. This company was going to take over an underutilized building, renovate it, and bring in or hire locally enough employees to make it the biggest or one of the biggest employers in the area.
Such is the case with Auberle, a faith-based organization, and its desire to open a Family Healing Center in the former Mt. Oliver School Building on Hays Avenue. A first of its kind program in Pennsylvania, the Family Healing Center would unite drug addicts who have completed detox with their young children and other family members in a residential setting.
Auberle is proposing up to eight participants in the program, but will start with fewer. Participants and their families will live together in an apartment in the former school building. There, the recovering addicts will not only undergo continued counseling, but learn how to be parents again.
What the Family Healing Center is not, is a halfway house. Program participants will remain in the facility, only leaving the building when accompanied by a staff member. Employed spouses may leave to go to work everyday and if the young children are school age, they will continue to attend the same school they always have.
In addition to the parents receiving help, children will be assessed by UPMC Children’s Hospital and will have access to tutoring, mental health services, recreation activities and other services.
One component of the program is for the family to have as normal a life as possible.
Mt. Oliver Mayor Frank Bernardini has chosen to oppose the proposed program saying the borough isn’t a “dumping ground” for social programs. He has further stated the recovering addicts in the program will draw and be the target of drug dealers, adding to Mt. Oliver’s drug problem.
Mr. Bernardini’s logic is flawed. Currently, there are no halfway houses or drug recovery programs in the borough. There are only around 500 families in the entire county eligible to participate in this program with Auberle expecting some from local neighborhoods to be referred.
The Family Healing Center will be staffed 24-hours a day and the recovering addict isn’t permitted to leave the facility unaccompanied. Auberle officials anticipate the facility will be transparent to nearby residents and not draw any undue attention.
The use of the former Mt. Oliver School Building as Auberle’s Family Healing Center is a good reuse of the building and a good start to a partnership that can only benefit Mt. Oliver.