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Finally, a home for W House

October 25, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

After nine years, the W House finally has a house to call home.

"We bought the house at 37 E. Antietam St. in August,'' said W House board president Donovan Bachtell, noting there is now a $50,000 mortgage.

An open house Thursday celebrated the new step forward for W House and its importance in the community, he said.

The W House is a shelter for women recovering from drugs and alcohol. Founded in 1988 by Margaret Wadill, W House moved into 37 E. Antietam St., a large building owned by Alvin Massey.

Massey has allowed W House to occupy the building rent free for the past eight years until the foundation could purchase it, Bachtell said.

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W House Director Christina Trenton said the nine beds in the house are always filled ... and there is a waiting list.

"We are the only halfway house for women in three counties, Washington, Allegany and Garrett,'' Trenton said. And the house also draws women in need from Carroll County.

One of those is Julie who has been at W House for five weeks.

"When I came here, I had just left inpatient treatment and I was scared and unsure,'' Julie said.

But that quickly passed, she said, and now the 27-year-old feels she has found a home.

"I love it here,'' she said. "I just got a job and things are really looking up.''

The typical stay at W House is six to nine months, Bachtell said. The residents pay $50 a week toward their keep.

The rest comes from the Washington County Health Department, United Way and contributions from businesses, clubs and organizations.

"We're hoping to get contributions so we can pay off our mortgage as soon as possible,'' Bachtell said.

W House also has a grant to enhance services for female offenders in Washington County, thanks to the Jail Substance Abuse Program.

"The Washington County Gaming Commission gave us money recently for a van,'' Bachtell said.

In addition to Trenton, there is a parttime secretary, a fulltime counselor and five direct care staff at W House.

When her stay at W House is over, Julie said she has no plans to return to Carroll County.

"I think I'm going to stay here because the people are so friendly,'' she said. "I have never had so much support.''

Anyone seeking more information about W House or who wants to contribute is asked to call 301-791-7826.

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