Private Residence Inc. Executive Director and founder Emily Wilson stands in front of the 533 Pine Ave. facility that serves as an affordable residence for women who are early in the recovery process. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)
ALBANY — Emily Wilson searches for just the right words to describe Private Residence Inc., a nonprofit organization formed to provide affordable housing and support for adult women who are early in their personal recovery process.
“We help women figure out how to live their lives sober, how to get and maintain a job, how to manage a bank account,” the Private Residence executive director says. “Our residents are required to get a job and attend meetings, but we don’t really provide treatment. More than a half-way house, I think you could call us a three-quarters-way house.”
Private Residence, located at 533 Pine Ave., opened its doors in August to women who had recently completed a detoxification treatment program. By word of mouth, the lovely two-story home’s six bedrooms were filled almost immediately.
“My husband (Albany attorney Brett Wilson) bought that house and it sat empty for quite a while,” Emily Wilson said. “He showed a friend of his from Atlanta pictures of the house, asking what she thought he should do with it, and she immediately said, ‘Half-way house.’ That was something she’d always wanted to get involved in, and it’s something I’d wanted to do when I lived in Houston.
“We started fixing the place up, and Brett’s friend backed out. There was such a need in our area, I decided to move forward with the project. We didn’t have a formal plan in place when we first started. Things just evolved.”
Wilson knew from personal experience how the process worked.
“I went through a number of treatment centers (for alcohol addiction) in Houston, but I was fortunate enough to have a family that provided for me,” she said. “There are so many women in our area who don’t have families for support or who have families who’ve just grown tired of dealing with their issues. The next option for these women is a dope house, ‘friends’ they don’t need to be with or the streets.
“It means a lot to me to be able to provide a safe, affordable housing option for some of these women.”
Michele Frazier serves as program director at Private Residence, but Wilson said the nonprofit did not presently have the funds needed to bring on other staff.
“Our residents stay for a minimum six-month period,” she said. “They are required to get a job within two weeks of moving in, and once they settle into their jobs they start paying $175 a week. We provide staples, but the residents have to provide for their own needs. We accept individuals only, no children.
“We’ve only been here a short time, but we have residents staying in all six rooms. Five of the six have gotten jobs, and all meet with me once a week and with Michele several times. Flint Community Bank is offering budgeting counseling as a service to the residents. We think that’s one of the primary things our residents must learn, how to live within a budget. It’s a hardship for women to make all of these adjustments, but we work with them. Given our (nonprofit) circumstances, we have to rely on them to do their part, too.”
Private Residence accepts tax-deductible donations to help with its costs, and its board of directors has planned a golf tournament fundraiser at the Grand Island Golf Club in Lee County Nov. 15. The nonprofit is currently looking for sponsors and participants for the three-person team scramble. Sponsorships are available at the “Grand Event,” “Event” and “Hole” levels.
Grand Event sponsors ($1,000 donation) will have their logo on all tournament publicity, signage at the event and free registration for one three-person team. Event sponsors ($500) will have their logo on all event publicity and signage at the course, while Hole sponsors ($100) will be acknowledged with signage at specified holes on the course.
Teams or individuals may sign up at $90 per player for the flighted scramble. Prizes will be raffled at the tournament, and both “mulligans” and “red bombs” will be sold throughout the tournament.
For additional information about the tournament or about Private Residence, call Wilson at (229) 886-8304 or contact Paige Etheredge at Grand Island by calling (229) 878-1800 or (229) 869-4403. Etheredge is available online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms for the 1 p.m. tournament are available at Grand Island.