Central City Concern (CCC) began in 1979 as a recovery organization and we’d like to update you on some recent enhancements and expanded capacity in our recovery programs. As you may already know, we have an array of programs and we believe in tailoring programs to meet the needs of individuals. Increasingly, these three themes are driving our thinking:
Peers are important
In Our Housing and Through the Recovery Mentor Program
The value of peers is well documented when it comes to recovery and when we formed the Recovery Mentor Program in 1999, we quickly saw the enormous difference that peers could make.
Multnomah County has recently echoed our belief in this kind of programming by helping us expand the Recovery Mentor Program, adding three staff positions and 43 additional apartments for participants, nearly doubling the number of clients we can serve. (The full Mentor team is pictured here.)
Central City Concern is also expanding the use of peers for recovery services throughout the agency, often embedding such staff positions in our housing. We have added eight peer support positions in four buildings and have increased training of our front desk staff who are in frequent contact with the people we serve.
Domestic Violence/Recovery Project
Multnomah County is also supporting a domestic violence/recovery mentor project to coordinate care for women who are affected by both domestic violence and substance use disorders.
We recently discussed this new program with leaders from the State of Oregon and Multnomah County at a Get to Know the Real Central City Concern event. You can watch the full panel discussion here. Get to Know the Real Central City Concern is a series of exclusive events offered throughout the year to community members who are making significant investments in Central City Concern’s work.
Choice can drive success
Opiate epidemic calls for urgent action
Central City Concern offers choices in housing, like our Community Engagement Program, with strong outcomes. We are moving more toward recovery choice, striving to bring the right resources and approaches to every individual.
In recent years, the treatment field has had to step up to respond to the epidemic of opiate dependence and overdose deaths. While CCC continues to strongly support and value abstinence based recovery, we also have medication assisted alternate opioid treatment and overdose prevention initiatives in place throughout the agency. This has been a bold step for Central City Concern and our staff members are bringing an extraordinary level of openness and compassion to these new practices.
The Latino Community
In 2005, Central City Concern began offering recovery services for Latino adults and teens, filling a dire need in the community. Spanish-speaking staff members work with clients from an appropriate culturally-specific vantage point. Puentes staff members also serve mental health needs and reach approximately 170 people annually. With Multnomah County support, the program will soon add two staff positions and will expand by nearly 30%, with intentions of reaching 240 people annually.
The African American Community
African Americans are over represented in the homeless population and for many years, Central City Concern has provided both mental health and addiction services to African Americans. This year, these programs will operate in an integrated fashion with oversight from a Director of African-American Services. This collective set of services is under the program name of The Imani Center. “Imani,” the seventh principle of Kwanzaa, means "faith" in Swahili. Central City Concern chose this name as a positive expression of faith and hope. You’ll hear more about this new program in the coming year.
• • •
CCC Celebrates National Recovery Month
Thank you to everyone for being a part of Recovery Month at Central City Concern. The month was packed with ways we recognized that the stories of those in recovery are visible, vocal, and valuable. Some Recovery Month highlights include:
CCC Participates in Hands Across the Bridge
On September 7, many people from the CCC community joined thousands of others at Hands Across the Bridge to celebrate the strength and unity of recovery. Central City Concern was proud to be an event sponsor.
Recovery Mentor Program 15th Anniversary
More than 200 alumni of the Recovery Mentor Program gathered at the Ambridge Event Center to celebrate its 15th Anniversary!
CCC executive director Ed Blackburn gave the audience some historical perspective of the program. Marissa Madrigal, Multnomah County’s Chief Operating Officer, recounted the ways in which the county has partnered and supported the program because it is simply a program that has strong outcomes and save lives. She also spoke about the recent exciting growth of the program, which includes three new recovery mentor staff positions and 43 new units of available housing. She ended her remarks by reminding the alumni that their lives are visible, vocal, and valuable.
Two CCC programs were recognized for the integral support they provide new mentees. The Community Volunteer Corps, represented by Rachel Hatcher and Paul Flynt, and the CCC Recovery Center, represented by Melissa Bishop, were given awards.
The night was capped off with Recovery Mentors Doug Bishop, Torrence Williams, Lynda Williams, and David Fitzgerald each receiving recognition for their immense dedication to the Recovery Mentor Program and the individuals who come through in need of guidance and hope. A program alum introduced each Mentor, speaking to how each Mentor influenced (and continues to influence) their lives.
Recovery Month Photo Project
At the Recovery Mentor Anniversary party, attendees took photos holding up a board that completed the sentence, “Recovery has allowed me to…” and the resulting photos have been such an encouragement and inspiration to share. Resulting photos were organized into panels, which were shared on our social media throughout Recovery Month. You can see all the panels from the series by visiting the "Recovery Has Allowed Me to..." album on Facebook.
We also compiled all the photos into the poster at right. Click on the image for a higher-resolution version.
Panel Discussion on Women, Addiction, and Homelessness
As noted above, CCC hosted a panel discussion between local experts to explore the unique challenges women working to treat and manage their addiction face, especially when their addiction is compounded by domestic violence, poverty, and homelessness.
Telling a Colleague’s Recovery Story
We had the privilege and pleasure of sharing the recovery journey of CCC’s own Leonard Brightmon, whose outlook and perseverance is an inspiration to many in the community. You can earlier, you can read it at: .
Shining the Spotlight on a Volunteer in Recovery
Jennifer Fresh volunteers as an Old Town Clinic Concierge. We also had a chance to feature Jennifer Fresh, an Old Town Clinic Concierge volunteer, on our blog's Monthly Volunteer Spotlight. She spoke about what makes the path of recovery so compatible with volunteerism and how her life has changed since finding sobriety.
• • •
On behalf of the estimated 23 million+ people in recovery in our country and the thousands who are in Central City Concern’s daily care, thank you for your interest in our work!