Hopesource CEO dispels myths about recovery housing in Portsmouth

By Derrick C. Parker - For The Daily Times



PORTSMOUTH – Recovery housing in Portsmouth is a hot topic. For months, citizens have come to council and voiced concerns over transitional living facilities popping up in residential neighborhoods across the City. Sometimes, those concerns come with legitimate complaints such as excess noise or parking issues.

But there is also a general fear that treatment facilities in Portsmouth and Scioto County are ‘shipping in’ many folks in recovery from far outside the area – from places such as Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, or Cleveland.

Hopesource CEO Jay Hash has been coming to city council meetings the last several months in an effort to dispel some myths about treatment and housing in Portsmouth and give his input on future legislation on the issue. The PDT sat down with Hash last week to discuss his story, his business, and his outlook on transitional housing.

“I moved to Portsmouth on January 1, 1990, after a failed college attempt,” explained Hash. “I wasn’t a good student. I had severe alcohol use and other bad behaviors. I came to Portsmouth on a Greyhound bus and lived with my mother and stepfather.”

At the time, Hash’s stepfather was the minister at All Saint’s in downtown Portsmouth. Hash still attends the congregation today.

“When I first got to Portsmouth, I thought I’d just be here about six months. But then I started meeting people. I attended Shawnee State University. But, my alcoholism progressed. It led to more and more trouble and personal problems. I was negatively impacted by people around me and I decided to seek treatment.”

Hash completed treatment – but didn’t stay sober after his first attempt at recovery.

“It planted the seeds of recovery, but those seeds didn’t bloom until a month or two later.”

Hash went to treatment a second time. And he has now been in long term recovery since 1995. After he finished, he went back to SSU for counseling and started working in the industry. First, he worked for Shawnee Mental Health. Then, the Counseling Center. But eventually, he started Hopesource in 2015.

“The number of people needing treatment outgrew the number of resources in Scioto County,” Hash said. “This opioid epidemic has been devastating. Lives have been lost. Families have been destroyed. And brains have been hijacked by addiction.”

Hopesource employs 62 people. They provide employment services, case management, mental health outpatient treatment, substance use disorder inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as a transitional living. In 2021, they serviced a total of 293 people.

Hash shared his admission data. 82% of those serviced by Hopesource in 2021 came from Scioto County. Another 10% came from adjacent continues. Only 8% – or 22 individuals – came from outside of the area. And of those 22, 16 were already in Scioto County and referred to Hopesource by another center or courtroom for treatment.

“I don’t know what every other treatment facility is doing. I don’t have their admission data. But I have ours…the narrative that we are shipping people in from outside of our region doesn’t fit,” Hash said. “Right now, we have empty beds. I could fill them tomorrow with people from Hamilton County, Cuyahoga County, or Fairfield County. But I don’t. That demonstrates our focus on Scioto County.”

Hopesource also fully staffs each of their facilities 24 hours a day seven days a week.

“The people here deserve treatment that is good quality. Quality means good oversight. In the past, I have overseen transitional housing with no supervision, a small amount, a moderate amount, and full supervision – meaning a staff member is always there,” Hash said. “The best way to do it is to staff all our facilities and conduct surveillance.”

Hash said he believes some people in Portsmouth have legitimate concerns when it comes to recovery housing – as does he.

“The concerns people have are valid. When you have unsupervised recovery homes coupled with legitimate complaints such as parking or noise…that’s a problem. But we’ve never had a complaint at one of our facilities. That has never happened.”

“Staffing each facility comes at a great cost for us. So, when you have other facilities not doing that it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. We have extra expenses because we believe in doing the right thing…a business that doesn’t believe in that isn’t playing on a level playing field. From a business standpoint, I have concerns about that,” Hash said. “I also want everyone to have a great shot at recovery. I want facilities and housing that gives everyone the best most effective treatment.”

Hash promised to be available to city leaders as they debate future legislation. A special session of the council will take place on April 30 to talk about recovery housing problems and potential solutions.

“I came to Portsmouth for treatment. Some of my good friends did as well. Families were saved and lives were enriched. I don’t want my brothers and sisters in recovery to go without service. But if the goal is to provide service to Scioto County and the adjacent counties – and that goal is being met – I’m not sure adding more treatment centers is what is best.”


By Derrick C. Parker

For The Daily Times

Reach the Daily Times at (740) 353-3101 or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach the Daily Times at (740) 353-3101 or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved