MOBILE, Ala. — Veterans Recovery Resources (VRR) held a groundbreaking for phase one construction to renovate the historic Raphael Semmes School at 1200 Springhill Avenue to create a detoxification and residential treatment facility.

This phase includes securing the building and making necessary repairs in order to move forward with phase two of renovation.

VRR has raised $388,000 to cover the first phase of the project, with a goal to reach $2.1 million to complete the renovation.

This new development will meet the critical need for more community-based mental health care in south Alabama and our region by providing a medically supervised and non-medical detoxification program, peer specialists and specialized services for persons dealing with trauma, especially with returning veterans.

Since 2018, Veterans Recovery Resources has served nearly 400 veterans, first responders, families, caregivers and survivors in southwest Alabama and surrounding areas who are struggling with the transition to and from civilian life. VRR currently provides individual and group counseling, primary medical care, physical therapy, peer support, care for families, occupational therapy and community engagement.

VRR’s solution focuses on three crucial integrated aspects of long-term veteran recovery including outpatient treatment, detox and residential treatment, and community engagement.

The primary goal of the detoxification and residential treatment facility is to further decrease substance use issues, co-occurring conditions and veteran suicide in south Alabama. The renovation of the 18,000-squarefoot building will include eight beds for clinically monitored detoxification, 16 beds for residential treatment and approximately 20 beds for short-term, non-clinical care for veterans transitioning from homelessness and waiting for residential treatment.

“VRR has repeatedly proven itself as a valuable member of the public-private partnerships that serve our state’s veterans,” said Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) Kent Davis, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs. “I clearly see a critical need in Alabama for organizations that can assist with substance use issues. It is important to note there is currently no inpatient detoxification facility south of Birmingham in Alabama and there is no veteran-specific residential treatment facility anywhere in Alabama. I have no doubt whatsoever that VRR’s proposed detoxification center will thus fill a notable gap in services in Alabama. I also have no doubt that this new detoxification facility will become a model for others in the U.S.”

Executive Director of Veterans Recovery Resources John Kilpatrick stated, “Several studies tell us 50% of our veterans suffer from one or more diseases of post-traumatic stress, moral injury, acute pain and the addictions of alcohol, opioids and drugs. While there are many great programs for veterans, there are none to address the most urgent need for detoxification and stabilization. Our program seeks to fill this critical unmet need in Alabama and eventually across the country. This year we are realizing significant increases in suicides among our military, veteran and first responder communities in Alabama as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Upon completion, this $6.5 million project will add approximately 48 full-time positions to the area, bringing the VRR total to 55 personnel and an annual payroll of approximately $3.5 million.

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