Women's recovery home to be renovatedSeptember 3, 2021
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
JASPER — Jasper's east side will soon have a newly renovated women’s recovery home.
The Jasper Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special exception to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance Wednesday to allow transitional housing for a female residential treatment living home at 1480 Knust St. The property, commonly known as the Heidorn house, was previously owned and gifted by the city.
Dove Recovery House for Women, a nonprofit based out of Indianapolis, is set to essentially lease the property, said Dubois County Community Foundation Executive Director Clayton Boyles.
DCCF received a $4.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. in late 2020 to be used to improve mental health and substance abuse services in the community. Some of that grant money will be used for a women’s and a men’s recovery home. Right now, the county has zero recovery homes, Boyles said.
The women’s recovery home on Knust Street will be renovated through a partnership with Universal Design before opening. It will be a two-floor, 15-bed home with a kitchen, living room, a laundry area, a front porch and more. There will be about five staff members.
“If you know that area, it’s really serene in the back, really quiet,” Boyles said. “It’s a place for recovery, for women to get to know themselves better and kind of slow down in life and start to recover.”
Housing will consist of one ADA-accessible bedroom on the first floor, a few double bedrooms and a dorm room. When women first arrive at the home, they will sleep in the dorm room to encourage interaction with the others.
“In recovery, it’s best practice to keep women together with a lot of individuals in the room in the first stages of treatment because a lot of individuals in recovery keep to themselves,” Boyles said. “It’s important to be close to people and interact and be social.”
The house is already in fairly good shape from a structural standpoint, Boyles said. The renovations are meant more to make the space feel like a home.
“This is not clinical,” he said. "This is not concrete walls and sterile floors. It’s going to be a home.”
The home will not turn anyone away once it’s open. Women can refer themselves or be referred by someone else, including those working in the local criminal justice system. Each individual will be asked to stay for a minimum of three months but can stay for up to two years. A typical stay is six or seven months, Boyles said.
Individuals are not required to have insurance and don’t need to find work right away, although finding work is one of the main goals. Once an individual is working, they will be asked to pay 30% of their take-home pay after any additional fees such as child support or court fees are taken care of, Boyles said.
“We’re not trying to make a homerun off the backs of those that are actually there to get help,” he said.
The property was previously set to be donated to Lifespring Health Systems. Wednesday’s special exception from the board was just to allow use of the property and to acknowledge the change in partners.
The board also:
• Approved two variances regarding the University Heights project in Jasper. One variance allowed a minimum living area less than 450 square feet, and one allowed a minimum front setback of less than 35 feet. The proposed apartment complex will now only be two stories instead of three, will have more parking spaces than previously planned, and will have a steel fence installed between the complex and land owners. The complex will have two means of access: a Hill Court extension and a private drive extension to Third Avenue.
• Approved a special exception to allow for a new wireless support structure at 1255 Habig St.
• Approved a variance for Melanie Martin and Max Hopf to allow for an accessory structure on their property.
• Approved a variance for Roberto Mendoza to allow for an accessory structure on his property.
• Approved a variance for Scott and Holly Reckelhoff to construct an accessory structure within 4.5 feet of the side yard setback.
• Approved a variance for Pfaff Construction to allow a minimum lot width of 95 feet for two proposed lots.
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