ALFRED, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - As the heroin crisis continues to grow - making more treatment options available is a huge challenge for the state.
Several organizations are beginning to use a hub-and-spoke model - a plan for comprehensive treatment that treats more than just an addiction.
One program in York County says this is a model it's been employing for over 40 years.
“I would say that we are the emergency room for human services.” These are the words of Jennifer Oullette, the Clinical Director at the York County Shelter Programs.
Mental health counseling, homeless shelters, inpatient addiction treatment, education, outpatient therapy, job training – these are just some of the services offered through YCSP.
At a time when locals and politicians are begging for more treatment to be made available nationally – YCSP says it’s been employing a functioning model for almost 40 years.
Its central hub is on a peaceful campus in Alfred - but it has locations all over the state.
YCSP helps around 500 people each year.
70% of those people are without any health insurance - like Mike Oullette from Aroostook County.
In November 2014, he found himself deep in alcohol addiction, suffering from mental health issues, and homeless.
“It was just getting really really rough,” he said. “And I hit a true true bottom. And I had nowhere to turn to. And these doors were open.”
Mike says he used more than half the programs available to him.
He was trained by Scott Davis in the vocational program, working in the kitchen.
Davis says the vocational training program is helpful for building up residents’ confidence and helping them transfer to life outside of YCSP. “Self-esteem comes along ways when I have other residents coming into the dining hall,” he said.
Mike says that experience helped to inspire fellow residents.
“I tell them, ‘You don't have to worry. I've been through exactly what you went through. And look where I'm at now.’ And they're like what?” Mike says.
Now - He's not only completed the program, but he's been hired as the director of the food pantry.
Success stories like Mike's are the goal at YCSP. The organization works to find some pathway for any person who needs help. Even if there isn’t a residential bed available – they don’t have any for women – they take people into the shelters in the hopes of putting them through intensive outpatient treatment.
“Because we are not so tied all the time to ‘every service we deliver has to be billed somehow,’ that creates a lot of flexibility in being able to meet need,” said Jennifer Oullette.
For Mike, he says he owes the program his life. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you for saving my life. Changing my life. Giving me the tools. What can you say to someone that saved your life you know? No gift is too big.”
One way the program is able to serve so many uninsured people is through fundraising events – plus several grants and funding from DHHS.
The annual Run-Walk to End Hunger is coming up on May 20.
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