Construction underway on facility to help women fighting opioid addiction

Michael Woods says something has to be done to "break the cycle" that's lead to an opioid epidemic. (Photo credit: John Le, WLOS)

In the place that gives the homeless a sense of hope, a new project confronts a national epidemic.

Abba House is under construction and is expected to open as soon as September.

The facility will be geared toward pregnant woman and mothers with small children who are addicted to opioids.

"As a community, let's solve the problem," Micheal Woods, the executive director of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries, said.

Woods said the framework for recovery is slowly coming together.

"There's not been a long-term, faith-based recovery program like this in the country," Woods told News 13.

With opioid addiction soaring, Woods said the need for treatment is undeniable. The number of homeless women and children has been rising for almost a decade. It's been a perfect storm for a tragic dilemma in the past year.

"Just in Buncombe County alone, there have been 400 babies born at Mission Hospital addicted to opiates or some other illegal drug," Woods said.

His blueprint for the problem includes 14 rooms for women who need help.

"There will be an individual room with a full bath," he said, pointing to one such space.

The cost of building the space is more than $625,000. Woods said he's raised about 90 percent of that total.

"I mean, we want to make this to be a very loving environment," he told News 13.

Woods hopes to have Abba House open by September, realizing once construction ends, the real work has only just begun.

"You see them go through the withdrawal symptoms and the pain that they are in. The easy thing is to get mad at the moms," he said. "But that doesn't solve our situation."

With a capacity of 28 women, Woods wants to break the cycle that has impacted so many families.

"Overcome their substance abuse and being able to keep the moms and babies together is something that's going to be exciting," Woods explained. "Although, it's going to be really challenging, I think it's exactly what our community needs, and, hopefully, we can be an example to other communities."

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