Hundreds attended the grand opening of the housing units on the Hope Center campus in Lexington, filling one of the new community rooms to capacity.
But for Mike Evans and the other tenants, it was a long-awaited chance to find a home
Like each apartment, Evans has a bed, a couch, a small kitchen area, and a private bathroom. In the month since he’s moved in, he’s added some personal touches, a pristine UK cap on a counter, a Wildcat throw on the couch. Even cooking is a pleasure, he said.
“Yeah, I mean, it was like, it was just different because, you know, I've been in and out of jail a lot. And to be able to come to something like this, to be able to cook my own meals and my own place. It's nice.”
Like Evans, each man living in the complex has been through the Hope Center Recovery program. Evans said he ran the streets in the very neighborhood where he is now living clean. The Lexington Hope Center officially unveiled a 48-unit sober living apartment complex. Development Director Carrie Thayer said finding safe, affordable housing is often difficult for Hope Center clients who finish their recovery programs.
The three-story complex also includes community meetings rooms where residents can attend 12-step meetings and other support groups. The Hope Center houses and feeds more than 800 men, women and children daily through its programs.
Evans said the apartment allows him to live close to and spend time with his two teenaged children. A black and white memorial notice is the only decoration on his refrigerator. It is, he said, a reminder that not everyone survives substance use disorder.
“It was my best friend's dad and I've known him for years and... Like I said, just the constant memory. That's why I got it hanging there.”
A reminder, he said, to make the most of his new home and his new life.