A Rockland recovery house has received a $50,000 grant from the USDA to made needed upgrades to the facility. Credit: Lauren Abbate | BDN

ROCKLAND, Maine ― An organization that runs a home for men in recovery from substance-use disorder is planning upgrades that could increase the number of residents it serves.

A $50,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will allow the Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition to make improvements at Friends House on Brewster Street in Rockland that could allow the facility to accommodate about 15 men. Since 2018, the nonprofit has been limited to housing about 10 men at a time.

“It is critical for people in early recovery to have a solid foundation to begin their recovery. Without providing safe, sober and supportive housing, most people cannot make progress in their recovery and continue to struggle with complications of their addiction,” Friends House supervisor Iain Kirkham said.

Gov. Janet Mills has made the state’s opioid crisis one of the top priorities of her administration, appointing Maine’s first ever director of opioid response in 2019.

From 2014 to 2019, more than 1,600 Mainers died from a drug overdose, she said at the time. Since 1999, there has been a more than a 500 percent increase in overdose deaths in Maine, according to U.S. News & World report, giving it the eighth-highest mortality rate among states in the nation.

Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition is one of more than 100 recovery homes that operate in Maine, including about 15 in the Bangor area.

The organization also operates a women’s house in Camden, which opened in 2019.