Addiction programs for women awarded more than $12 million in grants

A dozen programs supporting women coping with addiction have been awarded more than $12 million in grants from the state of Minnesota.

The programs that received the funds range from treatment programs to organizations that help women get resources like stable housing that make it easier to stay sober.

Providing access to transportation is one of the most straightforward ways to help women in rural Minnesota, said Terri Blaha, a program manager for Project Clean Start at Hope House in Itasca County.

"We'll provide bus tickets for those who can access the bus, if they are in the right hours," Blaha said. "Or, personally, we'll use our own cars, pick them up to get them where they need to be, recovery meetings or treatment."

The programs that received grants from the Department of Human Services all serve women who are pregnant or parenting a child under 19. They must either be enrolled in a treatment program, recently in treatment or willing to enroll within three months. Pregnant women who are using drugs are eligible for help from programs receiving the grants, whether or not they're in treatment.

"Women's Recovery Services are an exciting program because, rather than focusing on one part of a woman's life, the program focuses on a wide range of needs," Commissioner Emily Piper said in a statement. "This approach recognizes that when mothers have challenges with drugs and alcohol, it often affects every area of their lives and their children's lives."

Other organizations that received funding include Tagwii Plus Women's Supportive Services in Cloquet, Mothers First in Ramsey County and the Welcome Manor in Blue Earth County. The grants run for a three-year period that ends in 2019.

A previous version of the grant program ended in June. The Department of Human Services said an analysis by the agency showed that women in those programs were more likely to stay sober even after they left the programs.