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New Desires – Recovery Housing

You hear a lot about recovery houses in Frankford but I had never visited one so I asked Jeanna Goodwin, president of New Desires Inc., if I could stop by and talk to her.  Tuesday morning we sat down in the twelve foot high ceilinged front room of New Desires on Leiper Street and I asked some questions.

New Desires was founded by Jeanna’s father, the late Fred Courduff, about 12 years ago.  He didn’t set out to start a recovery house.  It evolved from his desire to help others find the path to recovery that he, himself, was on.  New Desires now has two houses, both on Leiper Street, serving about 30 residents.

What does New Desires do?  They provide a place and structure for people who are trying to get their lives back together and move away from addiction.  They come voluntarily and stay as long as necessary. They are not committed by the judicial system or anything like that.

New Desires, Inc.’s Residential Recovery Houses are community based, peer-group oriented, residential facilities that provides food, shelter, and recovery services in a supportive, non-drinking, drug-free environment for alcoholics and other drug addicts. Services provided by our recovery house include individual and group recovery planning, alcohol and other drug recovery education, group support, recreational activities, and information about and assistance in obtaining health, vocational, and other community services.

Some residents stay on more or less permanently as they might in one of the other boarding houses you find here and there in Frankford.  Of course they are free to leave at any time and some do.  A supervisor is always on duty to ensure that the program is being followed and the rules are enforced.

Jeanna co-founded the Frankford Recovery House coalition a few years ago to attempt to unite the legitimate recovery houses in the face of unfavorable publicity.  There are five organizations within the coalition at present.  Jeanna is well aware of the problem caused by recovery houses that merely take a check and provide no services to their residents.


Jeanna - President, Steve - Housing Supervisor and John also on staff

This is not an endorsement of New Desires but rather an attempt to understand what we are talking about in regard to recovery houses.

11 thoughts on “New Desires – Recovery Housing

  1. (edited for inappropriate content) This company is absolutely vile.

  2. wow, and you are anonymous? leave a comment but don’t stand behind it? your vile

  3. if you want to do a story about a well run house go to overington house no neighbors posting nasty comments there.

  4. I can say a lot about overington house and their shady practices!

  5. well then why don’t you? if you say their are shady practices at one of the most respected facilities in philadelphia what are they?

  6. i don’t understand how someone in recovery would even be talking nonsense about new desires…where the heck is your acceptance and where is tour 4th step…remember where you came from…and if your sober and new desires played anypart bin your process then you need to be grateful…..everyone is so ready to say this and that about recovey houses but when you had nowhere else to turn they accepted you…..may god bless you whoever you are…

  7. History of 4716 Leiper Street:

    It was “owned” & operated as an assisted living facility for the elderly up until about the year 2001or 2002. It was then called “The Bowman House.”

    A petite “hotti” named Debbie Bowman ran the place. It was somewhat semi-legal and not properly licensed. The building was not up to code, but according to the files at L&I, her permits for the usage were in order.

    Debbie had a sweet tooth for the drink and too often ended up at the tavern on the corner of Penn & Oxford. There she met & became involved with a married Police officer. She got knocked up; the cop never left his wife; she kept drinking & could not pay the mortgage. The business went belly up.

    It was still vacant almost until Bernice Jackson was looking to place a similar business in Northwood:

    “Northwood says ‘no’ to residential facility 4-24 2002

    Jackson attended her first Northwood civic meeting in March, when she asked the group to back her effort to open a community residential facility for 12 senior citizens at a house she purchased at 1313 Foulkrod St.

    Jackson wants to provide quality housing and job training to disadvantaged seniors in her five-bedroom twin home. “We’re going to oppose it,” said civic association president Grace Muller.

    The community doesn’t want Jackson to open on a residential block. Neighbors have told her to consider a vacant funeral parlor at 4716 Leiper St.”

    It was about that time when MARY ANN PIETRACK, who also uses the name MARY ANN PIETRAK-COURDUFF, purchased the building at 4616 Leiper. The PIETRAK-COURDUFF team went to work setting up various Recovery Houses on Leiper Street. One catering to alcoholics, drug addicts:

    New Desires, Inc.
    The Mansion
    4716 Leiper Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19124
    “This resource is not limited to those living with HIV/AIDS. FIR-approved non-DBH housing for men and women.”

    For several years, residents of the other building included sex offenders:
    Leiper I
    4747 Leiper Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19124
    “NOTE: To be compliant with verification requirements, the verification date must be within the past 12 months for sex offenders and within the past 3 months for sexually violent predators.”

    This all happened under the radar and without any input of the Northwood Civic Association, & it was done illegally.

    Theft by deception is how the Frankford community gets ripped off by many of these mom & pop “recovery houses, while the owners & operators become wealthy from the government funding.

    Why would I say such a thing? Why would I say it was done illegally?

    Because anytime the use of a building changes, a new application must be obtained, and on that new application, the new use must be stated.

    As I recall, on the new use application & permit for 4716 Leiper Street, a Recovery House for Drug Users, Alcoholics or people with the HIV were not listed. That is why they did not need a Zoning Variance nor did they approach the civic, while they received the permit “over the counter.”

    But someone did sign an “Application For Zoning/Use Registration Permit,” which states: “any false statements made therein are subject to the penalties of 18 Pa. C.S.A. §4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.”

    After they received the permit, they did whatever they wanted to do. That is why I say this it is “theft by deception.”

    They should all be shut down & a cease & desist order issued against them, not just the ones on Leiper Street, but through out Frankford & the whole city.

  8. Anon Can you contact Northwood Civic ,I would like to talk to you ,Barry 215-533-6744

  9. With the economy being what it is today, I’m wondering just how much government funding these recovery homes and behavioral treatment centers will be getting. Is it possible with all the government cut-backs that these facilities will close down to to lack of funding?

  10. Dear Barry N.W.C.A,

    My aunt used to live at the Bowman House back in 1998- 1999 and I had to move her out, because Debbie was at the bar & her brother was left watching the place. THing were going downhill.

    I watched this whole thing go down and filed complaints myself but no one would listen.

    I moved out of the neighborhood and no longer an involved in any of this, but I thought that people who still live in Frankford need to know the truth.

    Just go downtown and pull the file on 4716 Leiper Street and see for yourself.

    You will see that Debbie Bowman had permission to have a group housing for the elderly. Compare it to the new application for “New Desires,” and the fraud will become instantly apparent.

    This is no different as if a person lied upon their application for a gun permit because they wanted a gun, and after they obtained the gun under false pretenses – they went around shooting up the neighborhood.

    When the feds would find out about the falsification of the permit -the feds would be at their door to arrest them.

    How is this any different? Just because they have gotten away with this for 10 years, does not mean they should continue.

    N.W.C.A Pres.- you can do what all those other xxxNWCA presidents could not do. You can set the record straight and kick out the illegal rehabs and illegal business that obtained their Permits to operate by deception & lying on the applications.

    Good Luck Dear Sir Barry,

    I have all the confidence in the world you will get to the bottom of this.

  11. I like the effort put forth to locate these ‘recovery houses’ right in the middle of the large open air drug market that exists in this part of Frankford. These dealers solicit me in my car on my way to work while my 2YO daughter is in the back seat. Don’t the cops see this and when will they end it? One day someone like myself may risk my freedom to take care of these ignorant losers. Then maybe we won’t need these recovery houses.

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