Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Dudley House Alumni Shares His Views

Reader John Busby shares his thoughts on Dudley House:

"Dudley House has saved the lives of thousands of men, many of whom, including myself, live in Plainfield with their families. I would not be alive if it were not for the help I received there. I am proud to be in recovery ten years and credit Dudley House and its staff with my recovery.

"While it is true that things might not have been properly done by the former executive director to obtain licensure, Mayor Briggs has fully supported the program since she found out what was really happening.

"The facility discharged its last clients in May 2008 in an effort to save the costs for food, etc. and has not admitted clients since that time. It was planned that clients would be admitted again once the facility was ADA compliant and licensed by the state, and that work has begun. In fact, some of the Dudley House staff have been assisting in the rehab work at the facility over the past few months.

"All clients at Dudley House pay rent for room and board - services are not free of charge to anyone. Additionally, the house was funded by Union and Middlesex Counties, whose funding went toward the admission of clients who were not from Plainfield. Plainfield was not giving a free ride to anyone outside of their city and both Union and Middlesex counties want Dudley House to reopen.

"Many of the Dudley graduates remain in Plainfield upon graduation with their families, paying taxes - they would not have moved to Plainfield otherwise. This program has been in existence for over 34 years and is the oldest halfway house in the state.

"Originally, back in early 2008, the city council supported the program. Now, all of a sudden, some of the members of the council have decided this program is not worth saving. Has anyone contacted Union and Middlesex counties to see when their funding would be returned to Dudley House? Even if the city has to cough up the $178,000 projected for this year, what does that amount to - about $6 per taxpayer to keep addicts off their streets and in treatment???? The mayor should be commended for trying to keep social service programs like Dudley House open and not just close them down because there is a budget crunch. How can the city council turn their backs on us????"

Note from Plaintalker: Nov. 30 is the stated deadline for achieving licensure, although some close to the issue dispute the timetable, given the bureaucracies involved. The larger issue of whether the city should be in the business of operating such an agency is unresolved. A recent legal notice was posted seeking an agency to take over the management of Dudley House, but no agency has been approved. Such are the unresolved issues.


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