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Posted on: October 19, 2020

County Receives $1.5M Grant to Build Drug Treatment Facility at SCI-Waymart

An aerial image of the State Correctional Institution at Waymart.

HONESDALE -- The  Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)’s awarded Wayne County a $1.5 million POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grant to help  fund the development of a substance abuse treatment center at the State Correctional Institution-Waymart. 

“We’re beyond ecstatic we have the financial support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which will go a long way toward bringing this great project one giant step closer to fruition. When SCI-Waymart faced potential closure a few years ago, community leaders banded together to successfully save the facility. But then we started thinking outside the box to try to ensure the facility and that well-situated property would be viable for decades to come. We came up with a project that has gained the attention and support of federal, state and local leaders and this grant is validation that we have a well-thought-out and worthwhile endeavor that we can all be proud of,” said Wayne County Commissioners Brian Smith, Joseph Adams and Jocelyn Cramer.

Wayne County proposes to develop underutilized land at the 420-acre SCI-Waymart property into a multi-discipline treatment, rehabilitation and long-term care hub designed to address key service gaps within Northeastern Pennsylvania and create a recovery-to-work ecosystem. These funds will be used for the construction of the Treatment Facility, which is Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will be the addition of skills-based training, and Phase 3 is job creation through industrial development, housing options and commercial amenities.

“I congratulate Wayne County for their POWER award, and commend them on the leadership they have shown in their community,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches. Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”

For individuals with Drug & Alcohol and/or Behavioral Health service needs, including those who may be exiting the corrections system, Human Services practitioners recommend a comprehensive/long-term approach to treatment and recovery, such as continuum of care. Such strategies require the integration of traditional therapies with support services, housing options, skills-based training, and job placement to address barriers that often limit recovery and increase recidivism. 

This long-term approach to supporting treatment and recovery requires multiple treatment levels with different degrees of agency oversight and controls. These facilities are either nonexistent or in very limited numbers in Wayne County and the surrounding region. This project proposes to fill the gaps of services and strengthen the response to the substance use disorder crisis by creating timely service accessibility and availability where it is lacking, which would improve treatment outcomes in multiple ways. 

The overall SCI-Waymart Project responds to the reality that traditional workforce training programs are not conducive to supporting individuals in recovery who are seeking to attain and maintain employment. The fluidity and responsiveness contained within a recovery-to-work model lends itself to increased adaptability of the services provided.

“We are thrilled with the ARC POWER grant and sincerely appreciate the guidance we received from the State and Federal ARC offices to achieve this grant award. In 2017, when SCI Waymart was under threat of closure, County partners saw opportunity. With exceptional leadership and support from all levels of government, state and federal agencies, our legislators, County Commissioners and County partners, we are well on our way to the development of a recovery-to-work ecosystem at SCI Waymart. The ARC POWER grant will help with Phase 1 construction of the treatment and rehabilitation facility. Phase 2 will be funded through a recently awarded Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities grant to the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance. This project will fill current service gaps and help thousands of individuals transition through recovery to meaningful employment,” said Mary Beth Wood, Executive Director, Wayne Economic Development Corporation.

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