Meta House Helps Milwaukee’s Women

 by Lucy Benka

Meta House is a nationally-recognized treatment center that provides alcohol and other drug abuse treatment services designed specifically for women. 

 It was the firstresidential facility in the country designed specifically for women with substance use disorders, and has been providing very unique long-term gender-responsive treatment for 47 years. It was also one of the first in the nation to include children in their residential setting. As a 501(c)(3) public charity, or nonprofit organization, Meta House relies on public- and private sector support to fund their work.

Meta House has had much to celebrate over the last year;in particular, Meta House fulfilled a long-standing dream of relocating theiroutpatient, childcare, and administration facilities to the Riverwest neighborhood, adjacent totheir existing residential women and children’s program.

Meta House recently moved from a leased space on the Eastside, to a three-story, 34,000 sq. ft. parish school which they have renovatedinto a bright, spacious, inviting facility at 2625 N. Weil St. It is leasedfrom Our Lady of Divine Providence Church. The church continues to operate itsSaturday morning food pantry in the basement.

The new facilities in Riverwest will allow the non-profitto increase the number of women and children they serve. They now benefit froma campus-like setting, which will allow them to reduce operational costs overtime and share resources among the different programs.

Knowing that women are likely to have become addicted todrugs or alcohol in response to painful and traumatic life experiences, MetaHouse provides a holistic treatment program within a healing and understandingenvironment. The programs are designed with the recognition that motherhood isa highly important, valued role for women. They therefore offer comprehensiveservices to both women and their children to help repair and rebuild theserelationships. Knowing the significance of the role of motherhood and the manyother roles women play in society inspires their mission, philosophy, andtreatment of women in recovery.

Meta House offers a Residential Women and Children’s TreatmentProgram, Housing for the women and children who would otherwise be homeless,and an Outpatient program.

The Residential Women and Children’s TreatmentProgram offers 24-hour care for women and their children. The facility offerscomfortable communal living and an intensive, holistic treatment program. Thereare no strict time limits on the duration of their healing process. Each familyis treated individually.

Meta Housing is available for women inthe community who have completed a treatment program and are homeless. The MetaHouse Outpatient programs continue to provide supportive services for this facility, including ongoing casemanagement, counseling, recreational activities, parenting classes, literacy,youth groups, and job retention assistance. There are 28 furnishedapartments in 4 separate buildings which are located near 1st andLocust. This facility encourages women to become independent, strongwomen who are less likely to relapse, and overcome their addiction in a safe, drug-free,supportive living environment.

The Outpatient Services Programmakes up the third element of support that Meta House offers. This is availableto women who are able to maintain sobriety and attend treatment while remainingin their own homes or at Meta Housing.


Cost Savings andBenefits to the Community:

In the past 25 years, Meta House has savedthe Milwaukee community over $515 million in costs that would have likely beenincurred in the absence of treatment for services such as: emergency roomvisits, criminal justice activity, neo-natal intensive care and child welfareexpenses.

In 2009, Meta House served 298 women, 46 of whom were pregnant,and 326 children. Of residential clients, an impressive 81% completedtreatment, compared to the national average of just 39%. 12 months later, 84%were still abstinent from alcohol and drugs and 97% had no criminal justiceinvolvement. There were 26 babies born towomen during their stay at Meta House in 2009.


AODA Services:

Each woman whocomes to Meta House requires treatment for Alcohol and/or Other Drug Abuse(AODA). A trained and qualified team of professionals implement Meta House’sAODA Services which are unique and effective because they are built upon theprinciples of gender-responsive treatment.

Theoverwhelming majority of women who are addicted to substances are survivors ofsexual, physical, and emotional abuse: at least 80% have suffered sexualabuse/incest, 88% physical abuse and 94% have suffered emotional abuse. Theimpact of this abuse leads many women to numb the pain by turning tosubstances. Finding themselves addicted to substances, women at Meta House learnto manage their emotions and practice essential skills to live life withoutsubstances.

AODA services include: group therapy, one-on-one therapy, education,relapse prevention, meditation, process groups, urine screening, and “SeekingSafety” treatment groups to address the trauma they have experienced.

Treatment at Meta House works to ensure that women learn the causes of their substanceaddiction, are able to stop their use of substances through the development ofnew ways to cope, and are equipped and empowered with the tools to managetrauma in order to reduce relapses.