Press Releases

Grant funds allow the Turning Point to expand outreach recovery work

Mar 9 2023, 12:52 PM

Contact: Kim Mercer,

The Turning Point Center of Chittenden County (TPCCC) has been awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant to expand its Outreach Recovery Coaching program, which helps people in the community struggling with opioid addiction and other substance use.

“The need is great,” said Cam Lauf, the center’s executive director. “With this new funding, we will expand the program and be on-site, in more locations where we are needed. Instead of waiting, and hoping people decide one day to come to us, we will go to them and share all of the hope that we offer at the center.”

The grant was awarded to the center by the Community Health Investment Fund, an endeavor administered by the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC). According to its website, the projects supported by this fund will “show a unique, creative way to address an emerging need in ways which might lead to a new best practice.” This is exactly what the Outreach Recovery program seeks to do.

The Outreach Recovery program was created in 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when staff at the TPCCC were searching for ways to maintain contact with people suffering from addiction and homelessness after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently the Outreach Recovery Coaches provide low barrier addiction coaching services to individuals and families at the Champlain Inn on Shelburne Road, Susan’s Place on Susie Wilson Road in Essex, and the new Burlington Emergency Shelter Pods on Elmwood Avenue.

A typical day for an outreach recovery coach includes facilitating recovery groups, engaging with all who are interested, and establishing trust with community members who feel abandoned. By design, these recovery groups are low barrier which means anyone interested in learning more about recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can attend to discover the many paths there are to recovery.

“When visiting a location, I start my day by greeting staff there, then focus on making connections,” said Olivia Watson, CRC, (Certified Recovery Coach). “I’ll often share that I’m an addict in long-term recovery. After sharing my lived experience, people share their struggle with addiction in turn. Sometimes, the people I connect with decide to visit the Turning Point Center. Sometimes they sign up to work directly with a peer recovery coach, or to attend support groups. Often, they tell me about where they have been and where they want to go. That is the first step to recovery.”

Peer recovery coaching is effective because the coaches were once in the grips of drug and alcohol addiction. Recovery coaches at TPCCC have sustained recovery and are trained and certified through Recovery Vermont’s Recovery Coaching Board Certification. The recovery center has a drop-in location in downtown Burlington that promises a welcoming, substance-free, supportive space, where people can come for fellowship, to attend recovery meetings, to practice yoga, to use computers or make art, and much more. All programs are offered free to anyone who needs them.

In addition to supporting people individually at the center, and in emergency, temporary, and supportive housing sites, TPCCC’s recovery coaches work within the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Emergency Department, consulting with people who are in crisis and supporting them toward treatment and their recovery goals.


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