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Crawford House, a Halfway House for Women Recovering from Addiction, to Close in January

By Barbara A. Preston | December 8, 2020

Crawford House, a 23-bed halfway house for homeless women recovering from substance abuse, is expected to close in January. The women who currently live in the house, which is a designated historic landmark in the Skillman section of Montgomery Township, will likely be transferred to Anderson House, located in Whitehouse Station.

"This is deeply disappointing," a source close to the story says. "Apparently the financial stresses that have long frustrated addiction recovery programs – principally, extremely low federal and state reimbursement rates – have become a much bigger problem during the pandemic, such that occupancy at Crawford House has fallen below 50 percent, making it basically impossible to keep the doors open."

Crawford House Community Support Fund Chairwoman Kathy Herring says on the Crawford House Website: "We are now facing an epidemic within a pandemic. ...

"These are challenging times for us, Herring says. "The future has never felt so unpredictable. While this pandemic continues to impact everyday life, we’ve been doing everything possible to sustain daily operations and provide effective services for the women living at Crawford House.

"With the cancellation of the May spring dinner fundraiser, a funding deficit exists," Herring says. "This deficit does not take into account the extra expenses of caring for and keeping safe the women and staff, who are risking their own health to come to work each day."

For more than 40 years, Crawford House (founded in 1978) has provided a comprehensive individualized program for women, aged 18 years and over, who are residents of New Jersey, homeless, indigent, and free from substance use for at least 14 days.

Based on the 12-step model, Crawford House provides physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for women in a safe and mutually-supportive community. It also provides women with the education, treatment, and knowledge of how to use community support systems so they may achieve and maintain a substance-free lifestyle, according to the Website.

Since 2015, Crawford House has been part of the Daytop New Jersey network, which operated six adult and adolescent outpatient programs and two halfway houses including Crawford House. Daytop recently merged with ACENDA Integrated Health, based in Glassboro.

Daytop is also closing its substance-use-disorder treatment program in Mendham, succumbing to a loss of revenue and the nonprofit's need to keep its other rehabilitation programs operating in New Jersey. At one time, Daytop served 275 adults and adolescents daily, according James P. Curtin, who was the president and CEO of Daytop. Curtin is now listed as the chief business and government relations officer on the ACENDA Website.

"More than 90 percent of the women who have completed Crawford House have been able to remain in recovery," according to the Crawford House Website.

Former Daytop program director for Crawford House Ellen Purtell: "Recovering in the simplest and easiest of times is really challenging. In these times of the COVID pandemic, it's even harder. These women are really struggling, fighting hard to claim the lives they deserve."

In the Crawford House 40th Anniversary Video, Purtell recalled a graduate of the program who returned to thank the mentors, trustees, and staff for their help.

"This woman, who would never make eye contact with anybody or speak with or in front of anybody walked over to me in front of a bunch of people and she started to talk. Tears just started streaming down her face. She said:

'When I came here, I was empty. I didn't even have a soul. Because of the kindness that was shown to me, because of the counseling that was done for me here, I am alive again. I could never have done it without all of you.' "


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