Bridges of Hope, Emerge form partnership


XENIA — A new partnership between Emerge Recovery & Trade Initiative and Bridges of Hope is expected to serve the needs of hundreds of homeless people in the years to come. The partnership will bring treatment and other services to area homeless people according to those involved in the partnership process.

The partnership began as a series of shared ideas and conversations between Kip Morris, Emerge co-founder, and Will Urschel, board president of Bridges of Hope.

“Last year, Bridges was a drop-in evening shelter that could only offer limited triage for the issues guests were having,” said Urschel. “With the Emerge partnership, our guests will not only receive 24-hour housing but also daily chapel services, biblical care and clinical management, peer support groups, and an opportunity to restore their relationship with their Creator and redeem the path of their lives.”

Dustin Fields, a licensed social worker from Emerge, will oversee programming for the collaborative project. He has worked for various mental health and behavioral health agencies for the past 12 years and came to Emerge in February 2023.

“Very few of the homeless population are getting services for mental health and substance use,” said Fields. “The program here will be called ‘Emerge into Hope,’ a faith-based and evidence-based curriculum that will incorporate spirituality and proven evidence modalities to people struggling with mental health issues and/or substance use issues.”

Fields said the program will likely serve 80 or more people within the first couple of months. He added that by mid-2024, that number could possibly be somewhere between 200-250 people who can then establish sobriety, a viable career path, engagement with resources, improved social networking, and social skills.

“We are excited to start this journey with Bridges of Hope and serve its residents,” said Rachel Huffman, Emerge’s new CEO. “The residents will be able to engage in outpatient clinical services on site such as substance abuse and mental health outpatient counseling, intensive outpatient counseling, peer recovery support services, and more depending on the needs. People at Bridges of Hope will also have access to recovery housing, partial hospitalization services, and the Trades Institute which is on site at the Emerge Center.”

The Trades Institute offers certified courses in HVAC, plumbing, and business technology to anyone in the community.

According to Emerge, its mission exists to encourage restoration and healing in an inclusive and compassionate environment while providing recovery, mentorship, education, and life skills opportunities, who also allowing those in recovery to establish new career paths and thrive in today’s job market.

Experts in the areas of emancipation, recovery, and workforce development will provide training and life skills education while working to eliminate substance abuse and joblessness.

For more information, contact Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy at Emerge at 937-974-6120.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

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