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Oxford House receives grant

$50,000 goes to sober-living community

By Robert Cloud

A $50,000 Forward Together grant had a major role in the opening of Oxford House in Waupaca.

The goal of Oxford House is to create a sober-living community that encourages recovery from addiction.

“We believe in Oxford House,” said Tim Neuville. “Joy and I felt happy to get it here.”

He and his wife Joy fund the Forward Together grant.

The goal of the grant is to provide a significant source of funding to a single program that addresses major issues within the community.

In 2017, Forward Together provided $50,000 to Catalpa Health, which opened a clinic in Waupaca to offer mental health services to children and teens.

“We’re just trying to to see what we can do to help the community,” Neuville said.

An Oxford House for men opened in Waupaca last year, and organizers plan to open a second residence in the spring of this year.

It provides a drug-free and alcohol-free environment for recovering addicts.

Research has found that returning to the environment and people associated with past drug-related behavior often leads to relapse.

Run by the residents themselves, rather than by managers or counselors, Oxford House residents vote, elect their leadership, interview and determine new members.

They are also responsible for the costs of maintaining the house and paying the rent.

House members come from treatment centers, drug court, jail and homeless shelters.

“In general, they’re good people who made bad decisions,” Neuville said. “Oxford House is just trying to help them and give them a second chance.”

Researchers from DePaul University and the University of Illinois found the relapse rate for those living in an Oxford House was 31.3 percent, while the relapse rate for those who returned to their normal living situations was 64.8 percent after two years.

“If we can change one person’s life, it’s worth it,” Neuville said.

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