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Sober living facility to open at former Daniel Webster Motor Lodge

As a psychiatric nurse and nursing supervisor at Hampstead Hospital, Kristine Paquette has witnessed young men come in for detox programs and leave without a place to go that would provide the positive environment they need to stay away from the behavior they’re trying to escape.

“I remember standing (at work) one day, and this was probably about a month and a half ago, there were four guys that were all looking for somewhere to go, and not one of them had anywhere,” Paquette said.

She hopes to change that for some of them when she opens the Homestead Inn 1765, a sober living facility, on the former Daniel Webster Motor Lodge property on King Street in Boscawen. Paquette first eyed the property, which had been operating as a seasonal motel, in October, and the sale became official last week, said broker Leon Parker. By summer’s end, it will be ready to house 23 young men for four-month long stays, providing them a secure and healthy environment to restart their lives.

“What my goal is, is that once these gentlemen get through bed detox and a rehab type of program, that they have somewhere to go that’s safe and secure and sober, where they can learn sort of how to regain some of their independence and learn how to live sober,” Paquette said.

Paquette and Valerie Snyder, who will be house manager, moved onto the property Saturday. Paquette will live in the main building, Snyder will eventually live in a cottage, and the former motel space will be designated for the residents. There are 10 double bedrooms and three private rooms, and the facility also has an in-ground pool and 4 acres. There is no official age designation, but Paquette envisions the facility being for young men between the ages of 18 and 30. The tentative opening date is Aug. 1.

It will be a private pay facility, and there is a strict set of rules that all residents must agree to follow in order to participate in the program. They will all be subject to a criminal background check and meeting with Paquette before she accepts them into the program. Some of the rules pertain to drugs and alcohol. Residents must, for example, agree to random drug screenings, will be asked to leave if they relapse, must keep any prescribed medications in a secure place that management is aware of and cannot engage in violent behavior. They will also participate in 12-step programs through Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and the staff will be trained in a process called “mindfulness,” which is an approach to relapse prevention that focuses on physical and mental awareness, Paquette said.

Other rules focus on building an independent life. Within two weeks, every resident must either be employed, attending classes or volunteering at least 25 hours per week. The staff members at the facility will help residents fill out job applications, create resumes, apply for financial aid and develop other skills needed to find employment or enroll in college courses. In fact, the mission statement of Homestead Inn is “Here you will not walk alone.”

Paquette has been a registered nurse for 15 years, with 10 of those focused on substance abuse and mental health. She plans on maintaining her part-time position as a nursing supervisor at Hampstead Hospital when the Homestead Inn opens. Hampstead Hospital recently opened a short-stay rehabilitation program for five to 28 days, and she plans on drawing from those patients for her new facility, as well as other area detox and rehabilitation programs. A similar short-stay program exists at Webster Place in Franklin, and Paquette said her facility can be viewed as a third step to sobriety beyond those shorter programs.

“There’s a huge, huge need for it,” she said.

At Hampstead Hospital alone, about 15 young people per week come in for detox, usually for opiate dependence, she said. Some people have success when they leave, but many will go back into the same environment with things that trigger their drug use and find themselves slipping back into old habits. At the Homestead Inn, that won’t be the case, Paquette hopes. The residents will set goals and will be beside others who are also newly sober. They’ll eat and gather together and be able to share their experiences.

Paquette has gone through an approval process with Boscawen’s planning board, which included hearing from abutters and other town residents at a public hearing, said Alan Hardy, building inspector. The board made several requests for more information from Paquette, he said, but everything is now officially approved.

Abutters and residents had questions for Paquette about who would be living in the facility and how they will be selected, she said. She explained that they will be heavily vetted and will be required to follow the rules or be asked to leave. The property used to be a motel that anyone could stay at, so there will actually be more of a safety guarantee with her program, she said.

Although people have questions, the community has been very supportive of the program, she said, and will hopefully support the men once they arrive.

“These are young men that need a chance,” she said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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