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Gateway Freedom Center to relaunch housing, substance abuse recovery program for men

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — In 2015, local pastor Kathy White opened a transitional housing/substance abuse recovery program for women, but as one year turned into another, she felt a tugging to gear the program toward men. Later this month, White, executive director of the Gateway Freedom Center, is re-launching the program.

Gateway Freedom Center is located at 1315 N. Main St. in what was once the Weaver Electric building. The 16-bed facility includes seven bedrooms on the second floor with two beds in each and two family rooms downstairs for single-parent fathers in the program.

A reopening ceremony will take place at the center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

“God kept saying we have other places for women,” White said.

She said this transition comes at a time where having a place to help the men in the community get back on their feet is really needed, especially with the rise in opioid abuse in Rowan County.

The programs, which include Pathways to a Brighter Future, help clients create goals, work on anger management, address relapse prevention, employment, drug awareness, 12-step, provide life skills and health services.

Free at Last, another program, focuses on getting to the root cause of substance/alcohol abuse and anger issues.

“This program has been the most effective,” White said.

A house on the back side of the property will be a temporary housing placement for a family to stay in until the center can help find more permanent housing. White said they are in the midst of renovations and expect the house to be ready this summer.

The center will also house a large kitchen, laundry facility and a 75-seat cafeteria facility, which will also be up and running by the summer. There is already a small laundry room and a smaller kitchen downstairs.

The center is also renovating a couple of houses in East Spencer that will also be a transitional apartment or duplex for families.

The programs and referrals are possible through community partners to include the Family Crisis Council, regional prison facilities, local jails, the local judicial system, Rowan Helping Ministries,  Bethel Power of Faith Ministries, Grateful Heart Ministries, Goodwill Industries, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Capstone Recovery Center, which is a nonprofit, faith-based transitional housing program that incorporates substance abuse counseling and other programs for women.

The center also receives referrals from Rowan County DSS, and local public housing authorities.

Gateway Freedom Center targets men who are homeless or are drug- or alcohol-dependent but will also counsel young boys 6 years old and older.

White said when the program was open to women, there were a lot of children who were living in environments with their drug- or alcohol-addicted parents. She wants to be able to offer a place of safety for children to receive counseling.

Every Thursday the center hosts a men’s support meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

New clients would come into the center, have an assessment, get an understanding of the rules and mission of the program.

The center operates with the guidance of a six-member board made up of local leaders, ministers and substance abuse counselors and advocates.

White said the clothing store, located next door is always accepting items, but are in need of men’s clothing. Donations can be made by calling the center or made directly to P.O. Box 1842, Salisbury, NC 28145. Gateway Freedom Center also has a food pantry.

For more information, visit www.gatewayfreedomcenter.org or call 704-638-2000.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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