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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.

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Update on 1522-24 Church Street

The new recovery house on the corner of Church and Griscom has been visited by L&I who found no activity.  img_2542edit

Our Councilperson has requested a revisit for another inspection.  She will continue to monitor this case until it is resolved to the satisfaction of the community.  It was through an unfortunate office oversite that Father Steve at St. Joachims did not receive a callback on his previous contact.   It will not happen again.

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Frankford Civic Association Meeting

A good crowd once again attend the Frankford Civic Association tonight.  The meeting ran a bit over an hour and fifteen minutes.

  • In addition to the concerned residents of Frankford, some representatives of Frankford drug services were present.  A good deal of discussion was spent on the issue of the perception of the Frankford Civic as unfriendly to these types of businesses.  It seems fair to say that the folks who attended the meeting from the drug services arena are likely to be the best of the lot and expressed a desire to see the undesirable elements weeded out.  That position seems to line up nicely with the goals of the Frankford Civic and most other folks.
  • Zoning issues were updated and the Civic is dealing with them promptly as they come up for approval.
  • Officer katz of the 15th District was at the meeting to listen to citizen complaints and dealt with several with advice on how they should be handled.
  • Complaints from several residents of Salem Street about the clients at the Wedge building on Frankford Avenue centered on loitering by clients waiting for a van to pick them up for the return trip to wherever they live.  They clearly do not live in Frankford.  This is what residents were afraid would happen and now it has happened.  What will our representatives do to straighten this out.  They gave them the green light to move in here and set up shop.  No opposition.  When the same thing was about to happen in Bustleton, red light.  What a surprise.
  • 1522 and 24 Church Street have been purchased and the new owner plans to open a recovery house 120 feet from the door to St. Joachim church and 250 feet from the Northwood Academy Charter school.  Why does that sound like such a bad idea.  Because drug dealers like to go where the business is so they will also be on the church and school doorsteps.  Call your councilperson.  Express your restrained but vehement opposition.  See if we can make this go away permanently.  215-686-3448, 3449.

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Frankford Civic Association Meeting

The Frankford Civic held their monthly meeting tonight with 36 people in attendance.  Some routine zoning business came up first with approvals for

  • Paintarama over on Torresdale Avenue needs some indoor parking due to vandalism
  • A family day care on Harrison Street to expand to serve 12 children
  • The Independent Electrical Contractors Association for the operation of a training center in the 1600 block of Foulkrod Street.
  • Operation of a rotisserie chicken store for take out and with seating to eat in on Frankford Avenue near Margaret Street.

The electricians presence was greated with applause and welcome to the community.

img_2005A property owner made a presentation to convert a 3 story single home into a triplex.  That issue was set for further study.  The owner of a property on Frankford Avenue near Church Street is looking to open a business and wants to work with the civic to try to find a good use for the building.  The owner of the property on Frankford Avenue seeking to add 2 apartments to the first floor thereby reducing the size of the retail space was not present.

Upcoming events are the mayor’s budget information meeting at St. Dominick’s on 2/12.  The 15th district captain’s town hall meeting at St. Joachim’s on 2/17 and an informational meeting on the new 311 phone system at Tacony Baptist on 2/18.

img_2006Several representatives from groups serving the rehab community attended the meeting for the first time.  There were discussions of the need for the services they provide and it was generally agreed that yes they are needed.  The big question is why are so many of them needed in Frankford.  Many people spoke on the quality of the services they provide and how that is the real source of the problem.

On that issue, we beg to differ.  If every one of the various drug rehab services was the top in its field, it would still mean that Frankford was over full of A+ drug rehab services.

We are closed now.  We are full.  Those that remain in Frankford will have to be good or they will go and those that go do not need to be replaced.
Although there were some strong positions taken, the meeting was civil and fairly amiable considering the depth of feeling on both sides the the fence.  It ran a bit late which is unusual for the Civic.

We’ll be posting something tomorrow on the issue of the old Frankford Day nursery building being used for another drug rehab residence.