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Beans and Bread offers transitional housing for recovering addicts

The Frederick Ozanam House provides more than just shelter four five-bedroom apartments where 20 men recovering from addiction live communally. Since 1998, The Frederick Ozanam House has been available to homeless men to help them with rebuilding themselves and restarting their lives.

“The Frederick Ozanam House isn’t just housing. This facility is for serious, dedicated men who are committed to eventually being independent. We offer many services for them to have a better life,” said Stephanie Archer-Smith, director of programs at Beans and Bread.

After a proven six weeks of being clean of drugs and addiction, the applicants are evaluated and reviewed before being accepted into housing. The program follows a strict regimen run on a pre-determined time schedule.

“When the participant first arrives, there are many rules for them to abide by. We have a strict curfew in the beginning and they must undergo individual and group psychotherapy. As time goes by, each month they are required to have more tasks accomplished,” said Archer-Smith.

The men take on household responsibilities and must take care of their own cooking, cleaning and daily maintenance. Staff members check on the residents and make sure they are on track. Men in the program are required to work closely with a case manager, who helps determine future goals and potential positions for employment. In exchange for working cooperatively with staff and other roommates, more services are provided.

As the residents remain drug-free, volunteers and counselors provide literacy training to obtain one’s General Education Development. The purpose of the program is to offer the residents the chance for employment and self-sufficiency, according to St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore.

“After 30 days, we expect the men to actively search for employment. At this time, they start contributing money to the house earned through working in our resource center or meal program. The money goes to groceries for the apartment. After 90 days, each resident pays a predetermined program fee,” said Archer-Smith.

Based on achieving goals within deadlines and working closely with counselors and case managers, the Frederick Ozanam House gives residents a sense of security and provides them with the knowledge and skills to be on their own.

The Frederick Ozanam House, named after the founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, receives support through private contributions and grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state of Maryland through Baltimore City's Office of Homeless Services.

According to St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, last year seven men graduated from the program and 14 received employment.

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Transcription of Interview - Larry Sigmon