A women’s halfway house in Portland has closed as a result of a state funding cut, and what may be Maine’s only self-pay residential rehabilitation center will open in its place.

The 12-bed halfway house on Forest Avenue closed in December, when the Department of Health and Human Services stopped funding its $330,450 annual budget, said Shannon Trainor, executive director of Crossroads.

Crossroads, a provider of several addiction recovery services in southern Maine, ran a six-month residential program at the site to help women overcoming addictions transition back into the community. It is now renovating the house to open next month as a 30-day residential program for women who can pay out of pocket or through private insurance.

John Martins, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the closure of the halfway house was “a business decision” by Crossroads, which could have continued to operate with funds from Medicaid reimbursements, as other providers have done.

He didn’t name the other providers, when asked, or explain why the funding was cut.

Trainor said Medicaid reimbursements would have left the halfway house at least $80,000 short of its budget and would have compromised the quality of the program, which has served about 30 women a year since it opened in 2001.

While the new self-pay center will help fill an unmet need in the state, the loss of the halfway house is already having a negative effect on addicts in Maine seeking treatment, said Pat Kimball, president of the Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs.

Kimball, who is also the executive director of Wellspring substance abuse treatment programs in Bangor, said the waiting list for its women’s house has grown from about 25 women to as many as 40 since the closure of the Portland halfway house, which was called Crossroads Back Cove.

And the consequence of the longer wait could end up being as grim as it gets.

“We’ve had people die on our wait lists,” she said.

Kimball said women come to halfway houses when they’re in “the chronic stages” of addiction and outpatient programs aren’t working for them.

“Unless they get into the halfway house, nothing’s going to change,” she said. “They are going to end up being repeat offenders in our community.”

Kimball said she does get calls from people looking for shorter-term programs who end up going out of state because there’s nothing in Maine that suits what they’re seeking. That, she said, can make it harder to stay on track when they come back home.

“If it’s close to home, you’re able to integrate better with your family,” she said.

The new facility, marketing itself as a “serene spot” for women to receive gender-specific substance abuse and mental health counseling, will also offer yoga, equine therapy and acupuncture.

It will house as many as eight women and charge $14,000 for a single room and $10,000 for a shared room per month. Trainor said that’s less than half the cost of many out-of-state rehab centers.

Kimball said there are enough potential clients in the state to fill both the self-pay treatment center and the halfway house.

“It breaks my heart that women, anyone, have to wait,” she said. “When they pick up that phone, they want to be treated.”

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: lesliebridgers