Jackson Andy’s Place is looking to expand its facilities

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JACKSON, Mich. — Mike Hirst is on a mission to help people struggling with addiction get their lives back on track.

You may know him for his work as the founder of Andy’s Angels, a non-profit organization created to educate the community about opiate abuse and provide support to families and those suffering from addiction.

It was made in honor of his son, Andy, who died in 2010 of a heroin overdose.

In 2021, Mike expanded his work to create Andy’s Place, the first apartment complex and addiction treatment pilot program that you can only attend if recommended by the Rehabilitation Court.

“It will take facilities like this that have long-term recovery, in a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment to improve,” Hirst said. “It takes a few years for the brain to heal and what we’ve done is take someone to rehab for 30, 60, 90 days and then put them on an outpatient basis, but they’re really back in their own neighborhood, they’re back on the streets, they’re back with the same people as before and that’s a recipe for disaster. So we’re trying to give that brain a chance to heal like any other injury that happens in the body.

And now it’s ready for expansion.

“We’ve had such success here and we see the thriving people living here,” Hirst said.

Through his expansion project, he wants to help pregnant women who are in prison. According to statistics from the Michigan Department of Corrections, 13 women were incarcerated while pregnant at their only women’s facility in 2020. In 2021 there were 12 deliveries, and so far in 2022 there have been eight deliveries and two pregnant patients to date. .

“I want to get her out of that environment,” Hirst said. “I want her to be healthy and clean. I want to give this child a chance to become the person the mother always wanted to be, the father always wanted to be, and the person who was born always wanted to be. I think they deserve that chance, deserve that shot and no one does. So we’re going to do it. »

They would have to go through the process of entering Michigan’s drug addiction court system and go through rehab to apply for residency at Andy’s Place. But, it also offers another building for those who need help, whether or not they’ve been behind bars.

“There’s a lot of people out there who haven’t been arrested, they’re in big trouble, but they haven’t been arrested,” Hirst said. “Where are they going? You know they have nowhere to go that’s affordable. So this is the third building. We’re excited about that because there’s a lot of great people trying to get together. restore, but they just can’t do it in their own neighborhood.

The apartments would match the first two with rooftop solar panels, cameras and 24/7 security to help ward off drug dealers and others on the do not list. contact. Hirst says the first phase of Andy’s Place was nothing but success.

“We’ve had nothing but good news from around the state and other states that are also considering this concept and we haven’t heard anyone say, ‘Oh, what a waste of money. What a waste of time. What a waste of effort, everyone. It’s totally the opposite,” Hirst said. “We are extremely fiscally responsible on this project and we will keep it that way.”

Hirst said his next steps are to get state approval. He feels optimistic that it will happen. If so, they’ll start construction in 2023. If not, Mike says they’ll try again to get approval in the spring.

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