Klina brothers hope to share New BeginningsSober living house aims to help Worcester, OC addicts transition back into society
(April 21, 2017) “Former addict” isn’t a title anyone wants to add to a resume, and there are few places that would consider it an asset under any circumstances, but Zach Klina, and his brother, Josh, aim to use Zach’s past to carve a new future by opening a recovery house in West Ocean City.
The brothers have recently incorporated a company, New Beginnings, developed a mission statement and published a website at www.newbeginnings.site and intend to file for nonprofit status before this article is published, Josh said.
Josh is, in restaurant terms, handling the back of the house — accounting, bookkeeping, planning and the like. Zach is tackling the public-facing front of the house position by spearheading the local effort and eventually hopes to live and manage the recovery house.
The brothers have drawn up a proposed housing contract, and are seeking properties and funds to finance an eventual purchase.
West Ocean City is the ideal place for New Beginnings, the brothers agreed, because of the accessibility of public transit and availability of potential year-round jobs would help foster a structure of predictability and routine useful in recovery. Also, Zach said there are many more opportunities to attend 12-step program meetings in the Ocean City and West Ocean City areas.
Zach also has some experience working in recovery houses, he said. Apart from a couple years of social work coursework in college, he said he worked as a case manager at a shelter for four years and formerly managed a recovery house, Life’s Journey, in Levittown, Pennsylvania.
“I moved down here four years ago and had a friend struggling with addiction last year. He ended up with a possession charge, went to jail and was trying to get into a recovery house but there wasn’t one,” Zach said. “He stayed at my place for a while and eventually went to Wilmington to go to a recovery house.”
Zach and Josh have been working on the project ever since, but were able to incorporate the business recently, so they can move on to the next phase of the project.
“We’re trying to get as much community support as possible. With the nonprofit, we’ll be able to pursue grants, and are looking for some help there.”
In the meantime, he spends his time trying to spread the word.
“I’m networking and building support. I’m talking with other recovery house owners,” he said. “I think it’s extremely responsible and can help people.”
Zach said ideally, the house would hold seven to 10 tenants, each paying about $150 per week in rent — which is the primary revenue source for the recovery house.
Maintaining a full house and managing compliance with the strict contract he’s drafted will be his primary responsibilities, he said.
The contract begins with the tenant agreeing to be subject to drug and alcohol screening at any time, and use or possession of drugs or alcohol is grounds for expulsion from the house. From there are curfews, expectations and other limitations on behavior.
Which is, at this point, all academic, because there are other obstacles other than funding the brothers must overcome.
While neither the health department nor the state’s Behavioral Health Administration regulates these kinds of facilities, Worcester County does limit to five the number of unrelated people who can live in a house together and would require a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals before it could open.
According to the county planning review and development department, until the brothers have a house they want to put to this kind of use, there’s not much to discuss except that any house in West Ocean City would require the exception.
Add to it funding concerns and the timeline required to purchase any house, and the New Beginnings house is still a ways off.
“Opening in fall is optimal, but we’re learning while we’re doing it and the timeline is the biggest bottleneck of all,” Josh Klina said.
But not an insurmountable one, as Josh has only to look at his brother for evidence of the program’s potential success.
“Addicts in programs or incarcerated in Worcester are sent back into society under their own accord, where relapse becomes more likely,” he said. “Zach is a former addict. Only through a sober living facility was he able to transition back into society. The opioid crisis is growing exponentially, and Worcester is no exception.”