JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)– A project that could save people fighting opioid addiction is on hold until state leaders reach a budget deal.
The Andy’s Place apartment complex would provide long-term, low-income housing for people dealing with an opioid addiction and their families.
“The lives and the families of so many are depending on this,” says Mike Hirst, a father who lost his son to a drug overdose in 2010.
The project broke ground in May 2019 and got more than a million dollars in state funding. But that money hasn’t come–and won’t–until state leaders agree on a budget.
“Everybody was excited for it,” Hirst says. “I know the Governor’s for the project. This has become a pawn in a political game as far as I’m concerned.”
Workers want to get started as soon as possible, but with colder weather on the way they could be forced to wait another six months.
Two mothers who lost their sons to overdoses say seeing the building empty and waiting brings the same feeling of dread as watching someone they love relapse.
“It’s just such a kick in the gut when that happens,” says Julie Risner. “And that’s kind of how we feel about what the governor has done with this veto. We just felt it was such a kick in the gut.”
Now they’re calling for a solution.
“The general public, the private sector, the government, the republicans, the democrats. Everyone has been supportive of this project,” Hirst says. “And we’ve all come together, we’re all playing on the same field at the same time and we’re gonna win this game.”
The governor and state legislators say they are working as hard as they can to come to an agreement that will allow this funding to go through, and for this project to get started. In the meantime families say they’re not going to give up on helping people as much as they can.