Edna House for women, a sober living home opened in Cleveland, Ohio in 2004. The idea for the house occurred when friends Erin Becker and Nancy O’Donnell encountered a young woman who wanted desperately to be sober, but faced an uphill battle due to her living situation. She had no financial resources or insurance for treatment and no referral from the court. What she did have was a sincere desire to change her life and that inspired Becker and O’Donnell. With the help of Jack Mulhall, a local old timer in AA and co-founder of the Ed Keating Center, Becker and O’Donnell founded Edna House, which provides group therapy and other services for residents.
Accommodations and Amenities
Edna House accommodates between 40 and 50 women, who live dorm-style in an old convent next to a church. The women sleep in areas that consist of twin beds and cubicles for storage. Edna House supplies groceries and clothing for the women.
Residents have the option of deciding their own morning meals, but most of the women eat cereal. Lunch and dinner are group affairs. Clients rotate, taking turns preparing meals for the household. Lunch typically includes sandwiches, while dinners are family-style meals. Preparing food as a group helps the residents create bonds, learn basic cooking skills, as well as acquire responsibility.
Rules and Regulations
Potential residents must have undergone detox and be medically stable prior to admittance. A six-month minimum commitment length of stay is required. Edna House offers a program that consists of three phases, with the first lasting for three months. During this time, a client can’t work, use a vehicle or attend to outside activities. The focus is strictly on recovery.
Phase one requirements include attending four weekly group therapy sessions lead by staff and alumni volunteers. Group topics include early recovery dynamics, anger management, stress management, trauma, relapse prevention, parenting and family issues. Other mandates include going to daily on-site 12-step meetings, participating in community service and assisting in Edna House fundraising events. Those without a high school degree must take GED preparation classes, as well as participate an in-house job skills program.
The second phase, which also lasts three months, consists of utilizing the tools acquired during the first three months. Clients must look for jobs and gain permanent employment. Weekly requirements also include attending aftercare or one weekly group session, being at six 12-step meetings per week and working with a sponsor.
The last phase is optional. While some women choose to move on, this phase is designed for those seeking additional structure in their lives. These residents move to a graduate house in the local community. Requirements include maintaining aftercare, attending 12-step meetings and providing peer support to newcomers at Edna House. The length of stay is based on a client’s needs.
The staff is made up entirely of women in recovery who have also successfully completed the Edna House program. This includes an executive director, a LCDC who is also the program director and a resident coordinator. Other alumni from Edna House are extremely active in the house, providing peer support to residents.
Edna House operates The Edna Boutique, which accepts donations from the community. The thrift shop uses proceeds to support Edna’s House, as well as provides retail employment opportunities for residents.
The Edna House alumni association currently boasts over 200 active members and meets monthly to plan family events and fundraisers and to foster a sense of community and sisterhood.
For financially challenged women who need help, this sober living home offers a lot. But while affordable, this is a tight ship and women are expected to work, both at a job and at completing their steps. Edna House is big on peer support, and clients not only learn basic tools on how to live a life in recovery, but they also establish healthy, long-term friendships.
Edna House Location
The Edna House for Women
2007 W 65th Street
Cleveland, OH 44102
The Edna House Cost
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