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Politics

Serenity Place Awarded $180K Loan to Keep Drug Treatment Services Afloat

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Peter Biello/NHPR
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Gov. Chris Sununu holds an emergency Executive Council meeting Friday to keep Serenity Place services in Manchester going.

A Manchester drug treatment center got emergency funding from the state Friday to help pay off part of an $800,000 deficit.

In an emergency meeting, the Executive Council approved an $180,000 loan to Serenity Place, to help pay immediate personnel costs. A judge last week forced the organization into receivership, after state regulators discovered severe financial irregularities.

Meanwhile services at Serenity Place are now being run by the neighboring nonprofit Families in Transition. Gov. Chris Sununu said it’s likely the organization will never again operate as a drug treatment provider.

Sununu called “the financial and operational mismanagement at Serenity Place tragic and unacceptable,” and something that can’t be allowed to happen again.

"It's not just sitting on a board - there is fiduciary responsibility - there's accountability that has to be brought to the process," Sununu said.

“It’s not just sitting on a board – there is fiduciary responsibility – there’s accountability that has to be brought to the process and that all very well connects in with the quality of services that needs to be provided,” Sununu told reporters after the meeting.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said an investigation has been opened into Serenity Place. And the state plans to provide more accountability moving forward.

“Part of that will be to provide the opportunity for more robust training to board of directors – recognizing so much of our social services are delivered through nonprofits, charitable organizations, which are run by volunteer boards. So, that absolutely needs to be part of our lessons learned from this,” MacDonald told the Council.

The Department of Health and Human Services is currently undergoing audits of the 35 providers receiving state money for drug and alcohol services. 

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