03/27/2017 16:02 EDT | Updated 03/28/2018 01:12 EDT

Fresh Start addiction recovery centre gets $7M to nearly double beds

Alberta is spending $7 million to nearly double the number of recovering addicts who can be housed at Fresh Start, a recovery centre in northeast Calgary.

Residents of the new housing facility will be graduates of Fresh Start Recovery Centre's 12- to 16-week addiction treatment program for men at the centre, which has operated in Calgary since 1992.

The main program is a 50-bed facility, with another 20 beds for men who have completed the treatment program.

The funding announced Monday will let the organization build more housing for clients who have finished the initial treatment program — 46 beds in 24 new rooms across three buildings.

"This funding is part of our government's commitment to invest $1.2 billion over five years to support affordable needs in the province," Premier Rachel Notley said at the announcement in Calgary Monday.

"The investment will make life better for people on the journey to recovering from addictions," Notley said.

Chase Cronk, a recovering alcoholic who recently graduated from the program, said Fresh Start helped him turn his life around. 

"To be honest, I lost everything as a result of my addiction," he said. "When I came to Fresh Start, I was broken."

Cronk said the new post-treatment housing will allow him to stay connected with the people and the resources at Fresh Start. 

"I feel great about the direction my recovery is going in today," Cronk said. 

'For 125 men on our wait list, this announcement brings hope that they may well celebrate their next birthday.'

- Stacey Petersen of Fresh Start Recovery Centre

The new investment could save lives, said Stacey Petersen, executive director of the Fresh Start Recovery Centre.

"For young men battling addiction to drugs such as fentanyl, each day is an eternity and may be their last," she said.

"For 125 men on our wait list, this announcement brings hope that they may well celebrate their next birthday."

Approximately 1,400 Albertans are helped by the Fresh Start Recovery Centre each year, the province said. 

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