Encore December 2019

Page 20

GOOD WORKS ENCORE

Safe Haven for Sobriety

Women in recovery find support at Healthy House by

JORDAN BRADLEY

E

verything about Healthy House for Women feels like a home. Each room is painted a different trendy color — blues, grays, purples. White trim adds a clean, classic touch. The ceilings are high, and there is plenty of natural light. One glance at the couches in the living room and you know you’re going to sink into them in the best way. The seven women who live here share chores, cook together, gossip about the men they’re seeing or want to be seeing, complain about the coffee. But Healthy House is more than just a house; it’s a space for women in recovery from addiction and trauma. Pamela Coffey, founder and executive director of Healthy House, greets you warmly as you step into the dwelling that she and her husband, Patrick, renovated in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. Despite her small stature, her personality fills the foyer as she guides you toward the kitchen. She’s trying to find the best place to talk but deems the kitchen unsuitable because a woman is working on a job application and she doesn’t want to interrupt her. Coffey leads you through French doors to the living room. “We created this house for women to have a safe place to come to when they were ready to start their journey over,” Coffey says, sitting on the couch with Stacy and Ella, two women currently living in the house. When the Coffeys bought the fivebedroom house in 2014, they intended to fix it up and turn it into a rental home, but during the renovation process, Coffey says, she felt a call to use the house for a different purpose: as a structured environment in which women in recovery from addiction and trauma could heal. So she started a nonprofit organization and called the home Healthy House for Women. 20 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019

Brian Powers

A calling