The Hale Foundation has quietly and faithfully served as an affordable addiction recovery resource in the CSRA for almost 30 years.
Tucked away in an enclave of restored homes on a cul-de-sac off Fourth Street, the foundation has guided thousands of men and their families to freedom from addiction’s devastating effects.
Many Augustans may not realize what a jewel this is in our community’s crown. There are very few places in the Southeast providing residential addiction treatment that is both effective and financially accessible.
Sadly, the two are often mutually exclusive. However, the Hale Foundation enjoys a reputation as a safe, loving place for the addicted to heal that generates steady referrals from health care, pastoral care, judicial and law enforcement professionals.
The need for such a resource has never been more critical, given the opiate epidemic ravaging our nation. There are coroners across the United States running out of room in their morgues.
Currently, the Hale Foundation can only accommodate 66 clients, and operates on a constant wait list of around eight to 12 men.
A generous anonymous gift recently enabled the foundation’s purchase of the former Order of St. Helena Episcopal Convent site in south Augusta for an intended expansion, and there has been pushback from some of the neighbors.
This was not unexpected. Addiction and other mental wellness issues are largely stigmatized and little understood unless someone directly faces such crises themselves or with a loved one; active addiction and addiction recovery are vastly different universes.
People hear the word addiction and picture brutality, homelessness, criminality, illness, disfigurement and death. These can indeed be harsh aspects of the disease that some experience, but recovery is an opposite, and under-told, story and one that is powerfully alive at the Hale Foundation.
The help offered there is found in a structured living environment centered on 12-step recovery programs and emotional support for clients as they reintegrate into work, school and family systems.
Some of the foundation’s guiding recovery principles are honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, discipline, service and gratitude. The nuns who formerly resided at the new Hale campus lived similarly together in a community grounded in prayer, hospitality, inclusivity and service. Driven by such values, the foundation has proven itself to be a good neighbor to downtown Augusta over the years – and I challenge anyone to point to a better-maintained block of homes in the area.
More importantly, the Hale Foundation is one of the most socially responsible entities in the CSRA at large, as it returns men broken by addiction to us wholly restored.
The foundation deserves greater attention and support from its fellow citizens for this service, and particularly by key corporate and municipal stakeholders seeking to advance economic development for our region. For too long, we’ve addressed substance abuse by sweeping it under the proverbial rug with Band-Aid solutions because addiction taboos make us uncomfortable.
We cannot continue in this manner if we want to arrest an epidemic. The Hale Foundation looks to Augusta for our support through whatever manner each of us can provide – be it a letter written, a phone call made, a check cut, or goods or services-in-kind delivered.
It’s the very least we can do for a place that has held and restored our sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers for us since 1990.
The writer is a volunteer for the Hale Foundation.