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The Blair H. Clark Respite House, operated by Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness, is the first of its kind in North Carolina and the 17th in the United States. Named after one of Sunrise’s founding members, it is considered an alternative to an inpatient psychiatric hospital stay for individuals in recovery experiencing emotional distress or in need of a break from current circumstances. The Respite House is located in Asheville, NC, but the exact address of the Respite House cannot be revealed publicly to protect the confidentiality of guests. Call 828-279-2847 to speak to a staff member.

Guests stay voluntarily for free up to a week at no cost. Each guest (a maximum of three) gets their own room located in a residential home equipped with a personal lock-box for medications, kitchen, outdoor space, books, TV, games, phone and a computer. The house is centrally located on a bus line and close to a grocery store and community services. 

It is staffed 24/7 by a staff of Sunrise Certified Peer Support Specialists who provide guests with support and tools to pursue recovery and wellness including: emotional support, connection to resources, recovery support groups, encouragement and more.  

The Blair H. Clark Respite House is a sober, violence free environment so drugs, alcohol and violent behaviors are not tolerated. It is not a detox center, crisis center, or locked facility. Guests are welcome to continue with their everyday schedules if desired.

How do I apply to stay at the Respite House?

It’s easy. Just call our Intake number at 828-279-2847 Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM. 

You will talk to one of Sunrise’s Certified Peer Support Specialists who will ask you some intake questions. This should take about 30 minutes or so. After 24 hours, you will call the same number, 828-279-2847, and speak to a Sunrise Peer Support Specialist to complete the application. If your application is approved, your visit will be scheduled.

What else do I need to know?

  • The person staying at the Respite House is the ONLY person who can call the intake number at 828-279-2847 to apply. A case manager, social worker or physician cannot call and complete the application on the applicant’s behalf.
  • Applicants must be over 18 and experiencing some form of emotional distress, but not in active crisis.
  • Applicants must be able to administer their own medication and be medically stable.
  • Applicants cannot be actively using substances or in need of a detox treatment center.
  • This is a voluntary stay. Guests can adhere to their own schedules, go to work, appointments and so on.
  • Each guest receives their own room. A maximum of three guests stay at one time
  • The Respite House is staffed 24 hours a day seven days a week by Sunrise Certified Peer Support Specialists who offer connection to resources, non-judgemental support, recovery community connection and more. All staff are Certified Peer Support Specialists who have lived experience with substance use and mental health challenges, and model what hope, possibility and recovery looks like.   

I got the rest I desperately needed

For the past two-and-a-half years, Kevin has been a consistent guest at Sunrise's Blair H. Clark Respite House. Just as the name implies, this is the place where he gets support, rest, and connection that he desperately needs to maintain his mental wellbeing. Kevin has lived for many years at the WNC Rescue Mission. The crowded conditions and constant change bear a weight on his mental wellness. Then he learned of Sunrise's Blair H. Clark Respite House. He filled out the intake form and scheduled his first visit over two years ago. A visit that changed his life.

"My very first visit, I met Jacqui (Sunrise's former Respite Coordinator) and she told me that she was enrolling me into Peer University to get my Peer Support Certification. I got trained and started working as a Peer Support Specialist within a week. Ever since, I've been staying at the Respite House for up to a week every couple of months. I just finished a week stay, and I feel wonderful. I gained weight and got some rest. This is what I need to keep going. I don't want to just survive. I want to live."

What is respite?

[Res-pit] (n): a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.

Evidence-based research shows that Peer Operated Respite Services reduce the need for inpatient treatment or emergency room visits due to emotional distress in recovery by 70%. We believe while focusing on wellness instead of illness; we open doors to solutions and support instead of placing band-aids over the symptoms. In addition, we connect guests with our peer-run Recovery Community Center (Sunrise Community) and to other vital community resources. Presently, SAMHSA has designated Peer Support a “Best Practice” and an essential principle within their National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care (samhsa.gov).

Blair H. Clark
Blair H. Clark is a founding member of Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness and worked tirelessly in the mental health and substance use community of Western North Carolina.

Connect

Call the Blair H. Clark Respite House at 828-279-2847 to speak to a Certified Peer Support Specialist staff member.