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Eagle's Perch, an Augusta home for women with addictions, faces financial struggles

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:37 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 30, 2012 2:27 AM
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A home for women making their first step toward recovery from alcohol and drug abuse faces financial woes that could force the ministry to close.

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Abby Fowler and her mother, Susie, select produce at a food giveaway, as Christopher Johnson keeps them dry. The giveaway was organized by Suzanne Rabon, of Mercy Ministries.   JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Abby Fowler and her mother, Susie, select produce at a food giveaway, as Christopher Johnson keeps them dry. The giveaway was organized by Suzanne Rabon, of Mercy Ministries.

Eagle’s Perch, a ministry of Augusta-based charitable organization Mercy Ministries, struggles financially month-to-month, said Suzanne Rabon, the director of the house. The home opened nine months ago to house five women with drug and alcohol addictions waiting to be placed in treatment facilities.

“That moment when someone comes forward and asks for help is so pivotal,” Rabon said.

Without money to continue operating, Rabon planned to close the house at the end of May. Instead, she sold furniture to cover expenses but doesn’t know where the money will come from in June.

“I have five women that are really trying hard to change their lives,” she said. “And I just didn’t have the heart to close the door on them.”

While staying at the house on Watkins Street in the Harrisburg neighborhood, many of the women place themselves on waiting lists for treatment facilities. About 10 to 12 women, representing about 40 percent of the residents who rotated through Eagle’s Perch, have found placement at facilities and moved out of the home, Rabon said.

The women have ranged in age from 19 to 62 and stay four to six months on average. The residents meet every morning and each woman is required to perform 25 volunteer hours each week.

Some of the women from Eagle’s Perch have received treatment at Hope House, a residential treatment facility for women suffering from substance abuse. Eagle’s Perch provided food, shelter and a safe environment for the women before Hope House could find a spot for them, executive director Karen Saltzman said.

“Certainly we don’t want to see anybody on the streets,” Saltzman said. “Providing shelter until we can get them into treatment is so important.”

While food and clothing donations help the women, Eagle’s Perch needs between $500 and $600 each month for expenses including utility bills. Occasionally, the house receives small monetary donations for expenses. Rabon, who lives in a cottage behind the house, cleans other houses to earn the majority of the money for monthly costs.

During its first few months open, the house received some regular donations and contributions but those gradually stopped, said Annette Drowlette, the chairwoman of Mercy Ministries’ board. Eagle’s Perch did not receive grants from local philanthropic organizations.

Some women were asked to leave because they couldn’t stay clean from drugs or alcohol or reverted back into relationships with men, which they are asked not to keep while living at Eagle’s Perch, Drowlette said.

HOW TO HELP

Make donations to Mercy Ministries online at augustahomeless.org or mail a check payable to Mercy Ministries to 1739 Fenwick St., Augusta, GA 30904. For more information, e-mail mercycontact@augustahomeless.org.


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