Albion planners give OK for GCASA’s 25-bed residence for women in recovery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2022 at 8:48 am

ALBION – The Albion Town Planning Board on Wednesday approved a 25-bed women and children community residence on Butts Road. This will be the first residential program for the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse that serves women and their children.

The Planning Board approved the site plan for the project. John Bennett, GCASA executive director, said he expects the project will go out to bid for construction next month.

The agency has seen more women in recovery and addiction programs with the opioid epidemic, with the prevalence of addictive painkillers, Bennett said during a public hearing about the project on Aug. 3.

The $4.6 million community residence will be the first in the GLOW region for women in recovery.

About 12 years ago, women accounted for 23 percent of the GCASA census or people served by the agency. But by 2016-17, that percentage jumped to nearly 40 percent, Bennett said.

The Albion site will allow women, 18 and older, to receive services to aid in their recovery while in a residential setting. Five of the 25 units will accommodate women with children younger than kindergarten. Up to two children can stay in those units. The property will include walking trails and a playground.

Keeping the mothers with the children eliminates a huge barrier preventing some women from going into acute recovery programs, Bennett said.

The project has been awarded a $4.6 million grant from the state Department of Health for construction of the residence. That grant doesn’t include the operation of the site, which will be staffed 24-7, including two employees at night.

GCASA will have 25 employees at the site, including mental health counselors, a nurse, peer counselors, aides, drivers, a child care coordinator, administrators and kitchen staff.

One nearby resident, Aaron Vosburgh, said he was concerned the site will add traffic to a road where there are frequent accidents because of a railroad overpass with a low clearance.