HOPE House in Buena Vista opens as first-ever sober living home in the area

The house is run by staff who have experience with substance abuse recovery

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The first-of-its-kind sober living house is opening its doors in Buena Vista.

HOPE House is located on Magnolia Street.

It is run by a peer recovery model, meaning each staff member has had their own experiences recovering from addiction, like Peer Recovery Specialist Thomas Whitlock Jr.

“I tried meth one time and I loved it. I had to have it. I started doing time, losing everything around me. And doing time, I did almost 8 and a half years,” said Whitlock. “I changed my whole life with the Lord’s help and I knew I was going to help people.”

The house was made possible by multiple organizations like the Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath and Alleghany and a grant from the Virginia Opioid Abatement.

HOPE House can host up to eight men who have completed a 28-day detox program and are looking for a fresh start.

“Now you have a place to transition into and start your new life,” said Executive Director of Rockbridge Recovery and HOPE House, Lisa Houck.

“If I had had something like this the few times that I couldn’t go home, I think it would’ve helped me more. For the people who don’t have homes or are homeless when they leave [rehab], this is perfect,” said Whitlock.

You wouldn’t be able to tell from it now, but the house was previously abandoned after a fire.

The transformation of the home serves as a reminder that recovery is always possible.

“It was burned from the inside,” said Whitlock. “You look at this house now, it’s the same way as an addict’s life. We were just beat up and nobody wanted nothing to do with us and then finally someone said that’s worth fixing for something good. That’s the way I like to look at it.”

Applications are now open to live at HOPE House. Learn more, here.

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