The Next Step Resource & Recovery Center, a project of Community Health Action of Staten Island, held its official Grand Opening on May 4, 2017. We are delighted to feature this critically important new RCOC this month.

Located just steps from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the Next Step Resource & Recovery Center is highly visible, convenient for all who commute to and from NYC, and easily accessed via public transportation from communities throughout Richmond County.

The Center is a project of Community Health Action of Staten Island, a multi-service social service organization with a mission to drive dramatic improvement in the health of New Yorkers.  With its origins rooted in the community’s response to an earlier health crisis, its history bears mentioning here. CHASI grew out of the Staten Island AIDS Task Force which had been established during the late 1980s in response to the HIV epidemic. At the time, the Task Force served to assist members of the community already diagnosed with HIV (as well as their family members and other loved ones) find the support and services they needed. Re-established as Community Health Action of Staten Island in the early 2000’s, CHASI has become a lifeline for countless Staten Islanders; particularly in the days, weeks and months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the island. Today, the agency dispatches a mobile health unit, as well as a mobile pantry to neighborhoods across Richmond County each and every day; sometimes making two stops in a day.

Given its history of service to the residents of Staten Island and its origins in serving a population both stigmatized and in the midst of a public health crisis, it’s no surprise that CHASI would respond to the opioid epidemic by establishing this new OASAS-funded Recovery Community & Outreach Center.

As of this writing, the Next Step Resource & Recovery Center is the only RCOC in New York State that is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. According to Jill Schlossberg, Project Director, “We want Staten Islanders to know that they never have to be alone. We are here to provide help and hope to anyone who needs us; anytime day or night. In fact, we recently had a gentleman stop by at 3 am because he just didn’t want to be alone. We talked over a cup of coffee and that was all he needed.”

Programs & Services

The Next Step Resource & Recovery Center offers a broad range of services to support Staten Island residents affected by substance use and their families in a welcoming and warm setting. The Center offers a pro-recovery community space with workshops focused on wellness and life skills, support and self-help groups, and substance-free social events. Recovery community members can choose to participate in sessions that appeal to their particular interests and priorities (e.g. yoga, meditation, creative writing, men’s and women’s groups, relapse prevention, naloxone (Narcan) training, on-site 12 step groups, etc.) The Center is LGBT-friendly, and activities are led by peers, staff, and community volunteers.

The Next Step Resource & Recovery Center recognizes that here is no single pathway to change that works for every individual struggling with addiction. As such, its staff and volunteers are committed to helping members explore options, find their particular motivations, and start down the path that suits them best.

According to Diane Arneth, Executive Director, “Through 24-hour walk-in access to information, crisis intervention, professional and peer counseling, referrals, and robust programming to support people in recovery, we are here to help people when they are ready to take that next step.”

Next Step pairs certified and licensed counselors with peer mentors in recovery with members to partner on creating an action plan to address that member’s specific goals.

The Center also helps to connect members of the community to treatment and other service providers that are accessible, affordable, and responsive.

As is the model of each Recovery Community & Outreach Center we’ve highlighted, the Next Step Resource & Recovery Center’s programs and events are planned and informed by the community’s feedback and recommendations.

Since its opening, traffic in the Center has been steady. While requests for assistance in connecting individuals to services have been plentiful, the staff and its volunteers are working to raise awareness of the Center as a place to build a community of recovery support. In addition to a robust social media campaign, press outreach, and advertising in the Staten Island Ferry terminal, they have taken their messages to area schools and the majority of local providers.

For additional information about the Next Step Resource & Recovery Center, including a list of its programs and services, contact information and links to social media accounts, click here.