Governor Sununu cut the ribbon Wednesday for the opening of a new transitional home for mothers recovering from substance abuse.
The new facility in Rochester is named Abi's Place after Abi Lizotte, a young mother who died of substance abuse in December 2017. She played a critical role in the opening of Hope on Haven Hill, a substance abuse treatment center for homeless women with children, also in Rochester.
Abi’s Place is meant for women who have graduated from that intensive treatment plan, and still need a place to live.
Kerry Norton, operations and development director of Hope on Haven Hill, said this type of transitional housing was critical, as most mothers treated there are still homeless after their six- to 12-month treatment.
“We knew right off the bat within a couple months [of opening Hope on Haven Hill] that we needed that next level of care because, that’s not available,” Norton said.
Abi’s Place is the only one of its kind in the Seacoast. Norton says they already have eight women ready to move in, and a wait list.
Abi's mother, Tammi Lizotte, remembered her daughter in a speech.
"Every time she fell, she got up, and she tried again, but it wasn't just for her and Parker,” Lizotte said through tears. “It was for all women and children with substance use disorder that she wanted them to have their place where they could learn to live a healthy lifestyle."
Tammi Lizotte stoo alongside Sununu in cutting the ribbon to symbolize the opening of the facility. He reiterated how important it was for lawmakers to hear from those working on the front lines of New Hampshire’s opioid crisis.
"It's really about the stakeholders, and the moms, and the kids, and everyone who's gone through this, to tell us where is it working, where is it not working, and that's the only way we're going to make it better and ultimately get the system where it needs to be,” Sununu said.
Abi's Place will house eight women and their children, where they'll be able to stay until they can find a stable job and affordable housing, typically one to two years.