College selling dorms to become housing for addicts, mental health patients

KeepHealthCare.ORG – College selling dorms to become housing for addicts, mental health patients

“These dorms are all secure. There (are) cameras and it’s key access for entry,” Michael Carpenter of MHAB Enterprises said while giving a tour of Clinton Community College’s dormitories.

The more than 200 dormitory rooms at the college won’t be home to the college’s students for much longer.

“We’re going to turn (the dormitories) into a life skills campus for people that struggle with alcohol, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty … any of the things that go around people not being able to get a leg up (in society),” Carpenter said.

MHAB Enterprises plans to purchase the dormitories and dining hall from Clinton Community College by January 2019 in order to complete Carpenter’s vision: The MHAB Project.

It’s been his dream ever since overcoming his own addiction 30 years ago.

“This is a big deal for me. This is a big deal because it allows me to do something that’s pertinent and that can really move the needle and change the lives of people who are sitting in places right now believing that (sobriety) is hopeless,” Carpenter said.

He said it’ll be a transitional housing option for people struggling with addiction and mental health issues, run by Ken Parkinson, a retired Plattsburgh police chief.

“There’s a lot of people that need this and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Parkinson said.

Clinton Community College says enrollment in residential life has dwindled over the past few years.

The college’s president, Ray DiPasquale, said there are currently 20 students enrolled in residential life for the fall 2018 semester, leaving close to 200 dorm rooms vacant.

Carpenter hasn’t purchased the dormitories yet, due to an appraisal process currently underway.

He expects that process to be completed by the end of the month. MHAB Enterprises will then purchase the dormitories and dining hall at face value.

Carpenter doesn’t foresee any major changes to the dormitories’ footprint. He did say that the dining hall might be used as classroom space until a food service vendor is secured.

Multiple addiction and mental health service providers from Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties will have dormitories available for their clients to live in temporarily as they receive help.

It’s an effort applauded by community leaders.

“We can now take these good people and make them productive people in our society one again,” said Clinton County Sheriff David Favro.

“(This program) is truly going to be transformative. It’s going to work,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones.

It’s an effort that Carpenter has faith in.

“I know firsthand the need for this. I also know firsthand that this (type of program) works. (If it’s) done properly with the right support mechanisms, we can help people change their lives,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter is encouraging community members to weigh in on the project at a public meeting scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Clinton Community College’s dining hall on Dormitory Drive in Plattsburgh.



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