October 4, 2019

In opioids-ravaged Kentucky, a program pairs recovering addicts with jobs building houses

Here are three stories of renewal to inspire you as you head into the weekend.

The Hope Building program in Hazard, Kentucky, provides paid job training for those recovering from addiction. The program teaches skills such as basic carpentry and blueprint reading. Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Each week, The Renewal Project shares three stories from around the country that highlight the innovative solutions people are creating in their communities. This week learn about a job-training program that helps people recovering from addiction in Kentucky, a rural women’s summit in South Carolina, and a nationwide clothing drive for survivors of domestic violence. What are the innovative ideas in your hometown? Tell us at info@therenewalproject.com.

Building hope in Hazard: A new program in Hazard, Kentucky is helping area residents who have struggled with addiction get back on their feet. The Housing Development Alliance, which provides affordable housing in eastern Kentucky, partnered with the Perry County Drug Court and Hickory Hill Recovery Center to launch a job training and placement program called Hope Building. Through the program, participants receive paid on-the-job construction training in carpentry, roofing, and reading blueprints. They help build the affordable homes that the HDA provides.

“There is almost something spiritual about building something,” HDA Executive Director Scott McReynolds told the Daily Yonder. “It really fits well with the needs of those in recovery.”

Amid a nationwide opioid crisis, Kentucky has some of the country’s highest opioid-involved overdose deaths, according to the latest figures from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

McReynolds says the program is helping his community in two ways: by helping those who are in recovery rebuild their lives, and by repairing a housing market that has made it difficult to construct affordable homes.

Girl power: A national organization of rural leaders is hosting an event to bring rural women together to discuss innovative ideas for creating healthy, equitable, and inclusive communities. The Rural Women’s Summit, taking place Oct. 27-29 in Greenville, South Carolina, will emphasize the role rural women play in strengthening their communities. Hosted by Rural Assembly, the annual event is designed for rural practitioners, leaders, and advocates, according to ruralassembly.org. Discussions will be designed to “articulate the broad civic, political, and cultural impact of women’s leadership in rural America, to name the ways rural women are agents of change, to call out the barriers rural women face every day, and to proclaim the powerful role rural women play in creating compassionate communities.”

For over a decade, the Rural Assembly has convened a national network of rural leaders and advocates “to bring attention to rural America’s challenges and strengths in ways that will encourage better policies and results.” The group started in 2007 as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Rural People, Rural Policy initiative.

Help survivors of domestic violence: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and now until Oct. 11, Allstate agencies across the country are collecting much-needed items for survivors in their communities. This supply drive is a part of a multi-state Allstate Foundation Purple Purse® effort that will benefit more than 50 domestic violence nonprofits across the country. Find an Allstate drop-off location near you.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project, made possible by Allstate, tells the stories of individuals and organizations who are solving problems in their communities.
all stories