Stairways in the News

Fairweather Lodge marks milestone, continues to grow

Thursday, June 23, 2016

At a recent meeting in State College, with several new lodge providers coming on board, it was discovered that Pennsylvania now proudly operates 40 Fairweather Lodges in 20 different Pennsylvania counties.

For the Fairweather Lodge Coalition that is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2016, it was further proof of the effectiveness of the Fairweather model.

The coalition is truly a partnership between providers and the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (OMHSAS), said Kim Stucke, Stairways Chief Development Officer and co-chair of the Coalition for Community Living, the national body that governs Fairweather lodges.

Stucke, along with former Stairways residential director Ed Dawson, helped start Erie’s – and the state’s— first Fairweather Lodge in 1999. Since then, that number has grown to seven lodges across the city thanks to grants from OMHSAS.

The Fairweather model is not only about recovery but about reclaiming one’s life. Housing, employment, self-governance and peer support highlight the positive impact that this program has had on the lives of persons with mental illness.  Over 200 people have chosen to reclaim their lives by embarking on the Fairweather journey.

But it shows no signs of stopping there.

Based upon the success of the Pennsylvania Fairweather Lodge Program, OMHSAS is launching a new statewide initiative to develop Fairweather Lodges for veterans. Funding will be made available with the first veteran lodges coming onboard in Erie, Venango and Cumberland counties.

This initiative will also provide an opportunity to explore the viability of agribusiness opportunities for veteran lodges located in rural areas. The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilition, in conjunction with university support, has expressed an interest in collaborating to bring this opportunity to fruition.

Fairweather Lodges continue to thrive thanks to the commitment and dedication of its members and leadership. 

above: Kim Stucke helped first open the doors to Erie's Fairweather Lodges.

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