Faith-Based Group Using $3 Million Grant For New Drug Treatment Center in Wheeling

Members of the Heart2Heart/Living Free Ohio Valley Inc. board of directors are pleased to receive a $3 million grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to open a long-term drug treatment center for approximately 100 women. Seated from left are board member Christina Kestner, President Sharon Travis and Vice President Dale Travis. Standing from left are board member Marci Allen, Heart2Heart Director Shari Brown and Education Director Cindy Hayhurst.

WHEELING — A $3 million grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will allow a local faith-based group to transform the former Paul VI Pastoral Center into a long-term care facility for approximately 100 women suffering from drug addiction.

Sharon Travis serves as president of Living Free Ohio Valley. She said the faith-based group hopes to use the facility to expand on its work to combat the opioid epidemic and other drug problems.

“Long-term care is what is missing,” she said. “You need long-term oversight to be healed.”

According to the Paul center website, the 35-guest room lodge opened on about 150 acres just north of the city of Wheeling in 1981. Tim Bishop, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, said church officials closed the center a few years ago due to declining use.

“The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is pleased to be able to offer the property to Living Free Ohio Valley,” Bishop said. “We continue to keep their ministry, and indeed all those suffering from and battling through addiction throughout the Mountain State, in our prayers.”

This week, West Virginia DHHR confirmed plans to distribute nearly $21 million for nine substance abuse programs for the expansion of residential treatment throughout the state. Living Free facility is one of the recipients.

“As West Virginia fights this battle against addiction, these projects will allow for continued expansion of treatment beds and improved resources across the state,” DHHR Secretary Bill J. Crouch said.