A group of recovery centers from all across New Hampshire met with top state officials on Wednesday to plead for more funding, saying the state has placed added demand on their organizations without offering any extra financial support.
Wednesday's meeting involved representatives from 10 recovery centers — spanning from Littleton to Laconia to Nashua — whose state contracts are managed through Harbor Homes. It also involved officials from Gov. Chris Sununu’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The meeting was prompted by a letter the group of recovery centers sent to the state in April in which they expressed serious concern about their ability to fulfill growing demand for recovery services without more state support.
In that letter, the recovery centers pointed out that the state initially awarded $1.5 million to Harbor Homes with the expectation that it would support “at least five” recovery centers. Since then, they wrote, the contract was amended to require Harbor Homes to support at least 10 recovery centers, but the amount of money attached didn’t change.
“It makes poor fiscal sense to us,” they wrote in their April 19 letter to the state, “and we feel emergency proactive measures need to be taken to avoid key personnel layoffs, diminishing services and critical failures and closures of centers across the state beginning as early as July.”
The letter also noted that plans are in the works to bring another recovery center in Claremont under their contract, Collectively, the centers asked the state to increase their funding from $1.5 million to at least $2 million total.
Without extra funding, the recovery centers said they are bracing for budget cuts that will put many of them “at threat of dissolution and closure.”
“Lives of New Hampshire citizens and their families faced with substance use disorder rely on our centers remaining open, as does the ability to curb the current opioid crisis,” the centers wrote.
As part of their request for more state funding, the Harbor Homes-affiliated recovery centers involved in Wednesday's meeting pointed to the state’s recent decision to award $600,000 to another organization, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, to help it stay afloat. The recovery centers also said the contract with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery is “less demanding for administrative support” than their contract.
Representatives from both the Harbor Homes-affiliated recovery centers and the state characterized Wednesday’s meeting as a step in the right direction.
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers said he asked the recovery centers to come up with a specific plan for how they would use extra state funding, and the agency is open to seeing what money might be available to help them out.
Once he has that in hand, Meyers said he’ll be in a better position to have conversations with other state leaders to address the recovery centers’ concerns.
“We’re certainly open to working with them,” Meyers said. “We want to understand their challenges. We know the importance of these services across the state.”