Resident Handbook

GRACE HOUSE

RESIDENT HANDBOOK

July 2019

…and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

WELCOME

We recognize that without support and relationship the path to sobriety can often seem insurmountable. At Grace House we hope to walk alongside you as you work toward your personal recovery and to offer you relational support and care. We believe that with commitment and a safe environment you will be successful in your efforts to rebuild your life and we recognize the strength and courage you  have already shown in progressing this far.

At Grace House you will be celebrated, encouraged, loved, and empowered. We are enthusiastic about helping you discover your unique identity, passions, and skills. Our hope is that through your time with us you will develop greater self-awareness, cultivate your character, grow in confidence, and regain control of your life. It is our greatest hope that you leave here encouraged, changed, hopeful, and excited about your future. As with any journey, you cannot arrive at your destination without directions. This Handbook will contain guidelines for living at Grace House successfully.

WE BELIEVE

We believe in new beginnings. This is a chance for you to hit the reset button, to learn to live simply, and to rebuild. Our vision for you is that you would view this space and time as a launching pad into vitality, health, and fruitfulness.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Even though Grace House is not a certified NYS agency, we maintain and uphold all of the privacy and confidentiality rules and laws concerning protected health information under HIPAA and 42CFR, Part 2. You will be asked to sign releases of information to obtain and release information which are able to be rescinded (certain exceptions in the case of legal releases apply). You will be asked to sign off on HIPAA regulations and this is kept with your record.

In the case of an emergency certain medical information may be shared.

You will have access to your records upon your request. The Director will review your record with you after your signed release except for documents that have come from a third party. These records would need your request directly to that source.

WHAT IS SUPPORTIVE LIVING?

This is the last step before full integration into community life. By the time you are at this level of care you should have achieved a certain level of maturity and a degree of recovery. It is a “finishing school” of sorts. The length of stay is open ended. If you meet your goals in six months then you are discharged; – hopefully with a full time job or school enrollment and safe, affordable, appropriate housing. If your goals take 18 months to be met, then you can be here for that period of time. The time is what it needs to be. And you are a part of the supportive community offering and being support for the community of women in the House.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

We are eager for your time at Grace House to be transformative and healing. We value you and want you to succeed.

Your Rights

  • A clean and well-maintained home that is adequately supplied
  • Fair treatment
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Full access to whatever we have and provide

Your Responsibilities

  • Keeping your room clean; doing your own laundry including bedding; completing assigned household chores [washer/drier on premises]
  • Treating fellow residents, staff, and volunteers with the same respect you would want shown to you and giving them a hand when they need it
  • Being honest and truthful in all things
  • Keeping all appointments in a timely manner both in and out of house
  • Asking for help or prayer when you need it
  • Practicing HOW          –           Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness
  • Participating in the development of your Individual Service Plan and then pursuing the goals set forth

REQUIRED ACTIVITIES

8 am morning devotion

Grace House dinner – 5 pm – Monday through Friday (grace precedes)

Church on Sunday; once a month attendance at Grace Episcopal Church (9 am)

Celebrate Recovery – Monday at 7 pm

AA/NA – at least three times a week, more are encouraged

In-house classes – Tuesdays, when scheduled

THE FIRST 30 DAYS

For a woman’s first 30 days it will be a time of getting to know one another. There will be a closer observation than for the rest of the stay. It will also be a time of getting oriented to out-patient services, perhaps a new primary care provider, and other supports. The new resident will work on a Service Plan with the Director and start thinking about employment, volunteer opportunities, or education.

HELPS FOR COMMUNAL LIVING

CHORES:  All residents will be assigned daily household tasks to maintain the cleanliness and appearance of House. Each woman cleans up after herself; e.g., washes her own dishes.

GROCERIES AND MEALS:  Breakfast and lunch are taken individually. Monday through Friday dinner is taken together with the Director at 5:00 p.m. unless a woman is still working. Grace precedes the meal. Residents work together to plan dinners, grocery shop, and prepare meals. Groceries are purchased with SNAP benefits and other funds.

MORNING DEVOTIONS:  At 8:00 a.m. each morning there is a short morning meditation and prayer for all residents with the Director in the living room. 

ENTERTAINMENT:  TV, movies, and the like are limited to evenings and weekends.

WEEKLY ROUTINE:  Monday through Friday is spent pursuing goals, developing skills, working, volunteering, or in an educational program. Weekends are for leisure and fun activities. From time to time there will be organized group activities both during the week and on a weekend day.

BEDROOMS:  After breakfast/before leaving for the day, each resident is responsible for making her bed opening the curtains, and assuring that the room is neat and tidy. Bedroom doors should be OPEN except when sleeping or changing.

No resident should be in another resident’s room unless that person is present and invites her in.

CELL PHONES:   first 30 days of residency—cell phones will be handed in each evening at 8 pm or when returning from work/meeting if later than 8 pm and will be return after next morning’s devotions.

                                    After 30 days of residency—women may have their cell phones with them UNLESS their use becomes an annoyance to others or excessive. If this happens, they will be returned to an 8 pm to 8 am turn-in for a period of time.

CURFEW:  Monday through Thursday (unless at an approved activity) all residents will be in the House by 9 pm. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday it is 10 pm.

SMOKING:  Smoking, including vaping, is not permitted in the House or on the grounds by residents or any guest. If this presents a difficulty, please bring or request Nicotine Replacement Therapy products and have these added to your medication sheet. If you feel this will be a problem for you, please do not ask for admission to Grace House.

COMING AND GOING:              Please use the back door when coming and going and sign in/out on the sheet provided. Residents will be given a code to access the house key inside the lock box. This code will be changed frequently.

COMMUNITY MEETING:  There is a weekly community meeting to discuss house issues with the director.

FOOTWEAR:   During winter months and bad (wet, muddy) weather at other times of year, street shoes are not allowed in the house. Thick socks or house slippers with a tread should be worn in the common areas.

WAKE/SLEEP TIMES:  Residents should be up in time to be downstairs for morning devotions at 8 a.m. Monday-Friday. Women should be in their rooms to read/study/prepare for bed by 9 pm Monday-Thursday and 10 pm on weekends.

POWER OF EXAMPLE:  It is sincerely hoped that those women who have been in the House longer will welcome those coming in and help them in any way possible most particularly by being a positive power of example to them.

PERSONAL ACTIVITIES:  This is a wonderful opportunity to develop a hobby or skill that you have always been wanting to learn. Or just to develop a love of reading; Canton has a great library. Talk with others about what you might like to learn…………..

PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES:  Soft drinks and caffeinated beverages ARE allowed but are advised in moderation. Energy drinks are prohibited as is alcohol and all substances which are illicit.

RESIDENT MONITOR:  One resident is appointed with input from the other residents as Resident Monitor. She will help by checking that doors are locked at night, lights are off, needed supplies are listed, chores are done, etc.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION:  At this level of care we should not need a system of demerits or points to deal with behavior that is harmful to a resident or disrupting of community life . A one time, frank discussion should be sufficient to bring about change. If it does not, along with subsequent conversations, the woman will be asked to leave the House. As valued as each woman is, the good of the House must come first.

CONVERSATION:  Grace House is intended to be a safe place in which to get better. Conversation about the “glories” of drug/alcohol use, criminality, old “friends” still in the throes of harmful behaviors, and jail house buddies has no place here. Cursing, swearing, and vulgarity is not to be used at any time.

WORKING/SCHOOL HOURS:  When one first starts employment the limitation of the number of hours worked per week is 20. This will gradually be raised if the woman is able to handle work along with other responsibilities. No work or school hours should be scheduled past 6 pm. This is to assure that self-help meetings can be made.

ROMANCE:  There are to be NO romantic or sexual relationships pursued by a resident at Grace House. Not only are you endangering your own recovery but also the recovery of someone else.

FIRE DRILLS:  Fire drills will be held once a month randomly. During a drill, or in the event of a real fire, all residents will promptly exit the building and meet at the designated point to await further instructions.

BATHROOMS:  There are two bathrooms with a laundry room in between, a rather odd set-up. Rooms 1 and 2 will use the bathroom off Room 1 and Room 3 will share the other with the Residence Director. Please be careful with the doors/locks/etc. There are many of them!

RENT:  Rent is paid on the 1st and 15th of each month with a five day grace period.

ROOM SEARCHES AND TESTING:  Rooms and/or possession (bags, purchases, etc.) will be searched periodically with the resident present. The Director can enter one’s room after knocking. Drug and alcohol testing can be done periodically.

CONSERVATION:  Please turn off lights that are not being used and recycle in the proper baskets.

GROUNDS:  It is our responsibility to keep the grounds, walks, etc. tidy and neat and clear according to the season.

VISITATION

Contact with loved ones, especially children and immediate family members, is important. For women with children visitation will be determined on a case by case basis. We support and encourage continued building of relationship with children and family while living at Grace House and will do our utmost to facilitate opportunities for this.

Guests are limited to immediate family from 12 noon until 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Visitation is confined to the lower floor of the House. The behavior of the visitors is the responsibility of the GH resident.

Those who are visiting must receive approval in advance and must not be under the influence of alcohol or other substances.  They will be admitted to the House through the front door only.

TIME AWAY FROM THE HOUSE

After 60 days’ residence a woman may spend the night away at the home of an immediate family member. After six months of residence this can be two nights at the home of an immediate family member. As with all special allowances, this is based on appropriate maturity level and behavior.

There are times when a family would like a woman resident to join them for a special occasion (a short trip or excursion). Permission for these activities is granted on a case by case basis.

MEDICATION MANAGEMENT

Women accepted to Grace House must be able to manage their own medications; that is, able to take them according to how they are prescribed and maintain them safely in the lock boxes that are provided. The pin number for your box or boxes is given to the Director to be recorded in your record in the event it has to be opened in the case of an emergency. Over the counter as well as prescribed medications are to be kept in these boxes. The only exceptions would be epi pens, nitro, and the like for immediate and emergency use.

All medications, prescribed and OTC, must be noted by the Director in your record at the time of admission and on-going during your stay. The boxes will be checked periodically to assure that the boxes match the sheets.

If you have medications to dispose of there is a supply of kits to do this with in the Director’s office. They should not be flushed or otherwise put into the waste stream.

Under no circumstances are you to “share” with another individual your medication whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter.

TEAM EFFORT

Not only is life within the House a team effort, but we will all strive to work with outside agencies is a team-like way. We will seek to work closely with out-patient services, mental health providers, health care workers, probation/parole officers, educational programs, employers, housing agents, and any others that might need to be involved in making your transition in a full community life successful.

GRIEVANCES

Into every life some rain will fall………..therefore, we won’t have a perfect life all of the time. When we have a disagreement with another resident, a volunteer, the Director – we should make every attempt to work it out through frank and open discussion. NOT triangulation and other unhealthy means of communication.

If efforts at frank discussion fail and the issue remains unresolved, then the Board Chair will hear the matter and bring some conclusion to it.

Steps:

Resident with Resident           Seek resolution from Community Meeting    if that doesn’t resolve

                                                Seek resolution from Director                        if that doesn’t resolve

                                                Seek resolution from Board Chair

Resident with Volunteer         Seek resolution from Director                        if that doesn’t resolve

                                                Seek resolution from Board Chair     

Resident with Director            Seek resolution from Community Meeting    if that doesn’t resolve

                                                Seek resolution from Board Chair

If all of the above steps have not been taken and notes made of the various discussions, then the Board Chair will have nothing to work with and will be unable to hear the complaint until the steps have been gone through with some notations.

Board Chair de facto Ex. Director:     Carolyn M. White                   rhernandez2@twcny.rr.com

                                                            315-268-9109

And let us not forget that the Messiah is living among us!