New home in Portland a recovery ‘Milestone’

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PORTLAND — Recovery gave Tabatha Schoubroek the opportunity to rebuild her life.

She now has the chance to help others do the same as house manager of the new Milestone Recovery house in North Deering.

“What I would be here for is to show love, to support accountability and how to live life on life’s terms again,” Schoubroek said Feb. 8.

Milestone keeps the home’s location discreet for the safety of its new residents, but Executive Director Bob Fowler said applications will be accepted beginning this week to house 10 women. March 6 is the target date for guests to begin their stays.

All would be in the early stages of recovery from substance use disorders; some may be just coming from detox.

“It is a very natural extension to our detox service, because 80 percent of people who go through detox are homeless,” Fowler said.

The new home will not have on-site treatment for residents.

But in a city where affordable sober housing can be scarce, Fowler said a 2017 grant from the Blue Hill-based Next Generation Foundation and additional support from the children of Frank T. and Anne Cary will allow Milestone to keep the rent for residents down to $125 per week.

Frank T. Cary was chief executive at IBM, and his son, Marshall Cary, has supported other Milestone projects, Fowler said.

City tax records show Milestone bought the home for $400,000. Almost all rooms will be double occupancy, and Fowler said neighbors will be invited to an open house when it is scheduled.

Schoubroek said life there will be structured, with guests required to either work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week, or be attending school. They must be part of offsite recovery programs.

The home will be open to women who may be relying on medically assisted treatments like suboxone or methadone for opioid use.

The final house rules and application for residency were still being developed Feb. 8, but Schoubroek said she will not be living onsite. That means residents will also be required to supervise themselves at times, and attend at least one weekly house meeting.

The length of stay will not be capped, but double rooms may also mean guests are not likely to want extended stays, Fowler said.

Schoubroek has also worked with Milestone’s Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement, or HOME Team, a mobile outreach for the city’s homeless.

“It is a full circle from me being in early recovery to now running one,” she said. “I am a bit nervous, but very excited and honored to be a part of Milestone and have this opportunity.”

The home is opening as the state renews efforts to fight illicit opioid use and help people with substance use disorders get help.

On Feb. 6, Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order creating a cabinet-level director of opioid response. The order also orders the state Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to fund the wider distribution of naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses, while identifying how to add medically assisted treatments to the criminal justice system, preferably before people enter the system.

Mills also ordered SAMHS to fund and train 250 recovery coaches at state hospitals.

Two days later, Attorney General Aaron M. Frey’s office announced there were 282 overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2018, a decrease from 297 in the same time period in 2017.

However, 89 percent of those deaths were accidental overdoses, and “fentanyl continued to be the number one driver of drug fatalities in Maine,” according to a news release.

David Harry can be reached at 780-9092 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Milestone Recovery Executive Director Bob Fowler, left, and Tabatha Schoubroek in the kitchen of a new recovery house in Portland. Schoubroek, who is in recovery from a substance use disorder, will oversee the house, which is expected to open next month.

A bedroom in Milestone Recovery’s new home in Portland. The house will be open to 10 women in early stages of recovery from substance use disorders, at a cost of $125 per week.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.