Harbor Homes Plays a Vital Role in the Safe Station Program

January 6, 2017



by David S. Morin

As we enter into the New Year, the number of people seeking assistance through the Safe Station Program continues to rise.  Since the Hudson~Litchfield News began this series on the program, many people have already sought assistance for their addiction.  Since New Year’s Day, 14 individuals have made the first step to recovery.  On Jan. 3 alone, eight people came to the safe stations seeking help.  Another four called the help hotline.

In late December the HLN had the opportunity to meet with Harbor Homes President and CEO Peter Kelleher.  He outlined the services provided by Harbor Homes and provided a tour of the Nashua facility.  He explained that the city’s first responders have taken a great interest in the program at that almost all of the firefighters have taken a tour through the building giving them a better understanding of what services are available for Safe Station clients.  He mentioned that many of the program drivers are from Hudson.

Harbor Homes is housed in a non-descript building located at 45 High St. in Nashua.  The nonprofit organization provides low-income, homeless and disabled New Hampshire community members with affordable housing, primary and behavioral care and appointment job training supportive services.  The nonprofit has 85 programs through six agencies across the state.  With a staff of just over 400 employees, they assist more than 10,000 clients each year.

When a patient comes to the Safe Station a transport van from Harbor Homes picks them up and brings them to the High Street facility.  Medical staff and on-call drug and alcohol addiction counselors complete an evaluation of the patient to determine the level of care that will be needed.

The integrated service for substance abuse found here is the primary treatment for the Safe Station patients.  Gilmore Hall has 11 beds for Respite Recuperative Care.  Drug addiction patients can be treated here and continue to receive medical treatment as long as needed.  Patients are assigned a case manager to see them through their recovery and continue to provide assistance after the initial treatment.

Once in the program clients live at the Keystone Hall where they receive a treatment program tailored to their particular needs.  This treatment encompasses mental health and the substance use disorders, recovery support and basic needs and housing.

The treatment programs include a 28-day high-intensity program or a low-intensity 90-day program.  While in the program clients work alongside a case manager and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings, managed detoxification treatment, gender specific treatment, individual and group counseling, and access to interfaculty primary health care.

A client’s progress is reviewed at three months, six months and at one year with changes made in their treatment plans as needed.  “The journey to recovery is not a straight line or does it come in a short time,” Kelleher explained.  “Some do well and never become addicted to the drug again.  Others fall off the program and again start from the beginning to rid themselves of the addiction.  The treatment is a lifetime commitment from both the client and the health care professionals.”

This hard-fought battle from addiction to a substance-free life has been one of the most dramatic things Kelleher has ever seen.  Harbor Homes has taken a significant role in working alongside city agencies and is dedicated to the program.  When speaking about it, Kelleher had a tone of pride in his voice while emphasizing the short time it takes from a person arriving at the Safe Station until the client is seen at Harbor Homes.

Once a treatment program is completed an aftercare plan and continued recovery support are provided to the client.

The Cynthia Day Family Center located within Keystone Hall focuses on pregnant, post-partum and parenting women during their recoveries.  The program is designed to allow a mother to receive treatment for an addiction while continuing to care for her children.  The mother and children live in a safe and home-like environment at Keystone Hall while the mother receives treatment.

After a client transitions through the treatment process, Harbor Homes offers many programs to ensure the quality of life of those they assist remains high.  Job training, dental care, veterans’ services and housing are just a few of the many services provided. The next Harbor Homes program on the horizon is a mobile medical van to reach the homeless.