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How Access to Recovery Supports Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Ben O’Dell, who serves in the HHS Partnership Center, describes how this unique program supports effective faith-based and neighborhood partnerships to serve those in need.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to recognize how the Access to Recovery Program  (ATR) participates in the President’s charge for faith-based and neighborhood organizations to better serve individuals in need.  That opportunity came as the new grantees for this program gathered to begin implementing this program over the next four years in their respective communities. 

Access to Recovery is an innovative program out of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services.  By providing vouchers to clients to purchase substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services, Access to Recovery is expanding capacity, supporting client choice, and increasing the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.

In my remarks to the new grantees, I highlighted three reasons why the Administration and especially the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been a leading supporter of the Access to Recovery Program.

1. ATR works - The data this program has collected has shown that every dollar invested in treatment and recovery services returns $7 in cost savings from social benefits such as reduced health costs, crime, and lost productivity.  The Administration and the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships puts strong support behind programs that have evidence-based results and outcomes.

2. ATR involves new partners - This program works reaches out to new partners, including faith-based and smaller community-based organizations, in States and territories to provide a wide range of services to support treatment and recovery.  These new partners expand the capacity of treatment in the state, bring new supports to those in need and provide an appropriate pathway especially for faith-based groups to provide services.

3. ATR recognizes the reality of recovery - The Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships is always seeking to ground policy and programs in the reality of communities.  In providing this wide range of resources, ATR both leverages the diversity of resources in each community and recognizes how each client might need a different array of those resources to seeking to recover from substance abuse.

Having heard about personal stories of positive impact this program has made for people in need across the country, I was excited to highlight the unique opportunity for these grantees have to support faith-based and neighborhood partnerships through ATR. 

Ben O’Dell serves as an Associate Director in the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services.