Recovery versus McKeesport’s wrecking ball – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2021-11-30 10:00:10 –

Keenon Mikell, head of the Health and Wellness Program at First Step Recovery Homes, approaches the non-profit gym on Market Street in McKeesport. (Photo by Ryan Loew / Public Source)

Veteran teams of addiction recovery workers struggle to avoid financial collapse as cities try to break the path to regeneration.

Rich Road, Public Source

Aaron Banting flew to the podium when the call was shared. Even after the cocaine-fueled adult life almost ended with an opioid overdose, he was still excited from a completely different kind of weekend he called “the most enjoyable of my life.”

He spent it at the Narcotics Anonymous Convention in Erie. This November morning, he returned to McKeesport’s First Step Recovery Homes and spent most of the last two months. “I want to be together for the first time in my life and make my family proud,” he said.

The other seven First Step residents were sitting at the table in a wooden panel clinic with space heaters, popcorn makers, and old bank vault doors. “This is a whole new experience for me,” Banting said. “These people are legally like my family.”

Aaron Banding, a resident of McKeesport’s First Step Recovery Homes, will speak with the group on November 5, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Loew / PublicSource)

His first step family is in crisis.

Reconstruction organizations are struggling to pay invoices, pay salaries, and relieve relationships with the city government. First Step CEO Keith Giles $ 27.3 million under US Rescue Planning Act [ARPA] Financing – It should help stabilize financially struggling programs.

However, the first-step funding request ran into one of the city’s top priorities, the demolition of an abandoned building to give way to new development. McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepco said the city couldn’t help the first step because the city was responsible for the cost of demolishing the building owned by the organization.

“I’m financially responsible for McKeesport’s taxes,” Cherepco told Giles at the beginning of two bitter encounters before the city council. “I’m not going to pay taxes,” he continued. “… to fulfill the obligations you couldn’t fulfill.”

In effect, urban redevelopment and personal recovery (ideally strengthening each other) are clashing instead.

Sandwiched between pandemics

The $ 69 delinquent electricity bill was a recent concern for Giles.

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