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May 3, 2018

Citing finances, addiction recovery foundation leaving

File Photo/Don Del Rosso
The McShin Foundation’s Warrenton office Manager Chris Connell, who helped bring the addiction recovery program to Fauquier, plans to launch a nonprofit to continue the work.
We’re trying to make it so someone picks up the baton and runs with it.
— McShin Foundation President John Shinholser
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The financially-strapped, Richmond-based nonprofit soon will shut its addiction recovery center in downtown Warrenton.

The McShin Foundation on July 31 will cease providing a range of counseling services to recovering drug abusers and alcoholics at 30 John Marshall St., President John Shinholser said Wednesday.

Until then, McShin will continue to fund most of the center’s expenses — about $5,000 per month, Mr. Shinholser said.

“We just don’t have the financing to wait out” a second chance to establish a 14-bed residential recovery center, which would generate the revenue needed to continue the Warrenton operation, Mr. Shinholser said.

In a setback for the organization, Warrenton’s town council in January unanimously denied McShin’s special permit application to create such a program at the John Marshall Street building.

Agreeing with opponents, the council deemed the proposed use unsuited to the area.

Based his projections, the proposed 28-day program — operating at full capacity — could have produced $588,000 to $705,000 a year, according to Mr. Shinholser.

Despite McShin’s retreat, “we’re trying to make it so someone picks up the baton and runs with it,” he said.

McShin’s Warrenton office Manager Chris Connell plans to do that.

Ms. Connell soon plans to create a nonprofit to continue McShin’s work — providing addiction recovery counseling at the John Marshall Street building and for inmates at the county jail, just across West Lee Street.

“We already have some people that are helping to fund” the center, she said. “They’re putting money into the community now, helping with McShin.”

Individual and organization donations plus fundraisers “hopefully will be enough to sustain us,” said Ms. Connell, whose layoff from McShin will take effect in three months.

Her planned nonprofit — Hope Heals — will need to generate at least $6,000 a month to keep the doors open, she said.

Overhead will include utilities, payroll for four employees and rent — today $610 per month to county government, which owns the John Marshall Street building.

When Hope Heals hosts events, expenses could reach $10,000 per month, Ms. Connell said.

Like McShin, the proposed nonprofit would provide free counseling services, she said.

McShin decided to pull out of Warrenton about six weeks ago.

A perfect storm of conditions contributed to the decision, Mr. Shinholser explained.

“We got really big, really quick” during the past two years, expanding counseling services to Caroline County, Hopewell and Warrenton. “And, our revenue went down, and we had to correct, so to speak.”

That resulted in McShin abandoning outreach programs in Caroline and Hopewell, where groups created nonprofits to take over the recovery programs, according to Mr. Shinholser.

“They localized it,” he said. “They use the McShin model, but they turn it into a 501(c)(3). That’s what they should do in Warrenton.”

To cut costs, the foundation also laid off five of its 30 employees, Mr. Shinholser added.

While McShin must watch its spending, the foundation’s cash “reserve” totals more than $300,000, he said.

Founded in 2014, McShin, operates an apartment building and group homes with about 178 beds for recovering addicts in and around Richmond. 

Promising nothing, Mr. Shinholser hopes the foundation at some point can assist Ms. Connell’s group.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think we can donate some money. I just don’t know how much. Maybe we can help with events and fundraisers.

“Let us finish getting well down here.”

In denying the foundation's special permit application for the 14-bed program, the town council pledged to work with county officials, McShin and others to identify a suitable location for a recovery center.

On June 19, Warrenton’s planning commission will conduct a public hearing on county government’s rezoning and special permit applications to allow a residential addiction recovery center at 340 Hospital Drive.

The town council, which has final authority, could conduct a public hearing on the applications as soon as July 10. 

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board’s mental health clinic occupies the two-story, 7,800-square-foot building.

Under one scenario, the clinic would relocate to 540 Hospital Drive, which houses Dr. Norman Mauroner’s primary care practice, and a residential addiction recovery center would open in the existing RRCSB building.

That plan would require Fauquier to purchase the 9,500-square-foot structure and 1.4-acre site from Dr. Mauroner, who would move to smaller quarters.

For tax purposes, the county values Dr. Mauroner’s property at $1.3 million.

McShin’s decision to discontinue its Warrenton operation won’t affect Fauquier’s plans for the RRCSB building, Supervisor Chris Granger (Center District) said.

“The county’s going to continue the (application) process,” Mr. Granger said. “The county’s going to work with the (Warrenton-base) PATH Foundation and other groups to find a service provider.”

If all goes according to plan, Ms. Connell would hope to submit a bid to the county to operate a residential recovery program.

But, “it’s kind of on the backburner” and would be at least a year away, she added.

McShin began work in Fauquier by providing addiction recovery counseling to county jail inmates.

With the community facing an epidemic of opioid overdoses and deaths, the sheriff’s office invited McShin to Fauquier, after learning more about the foundation through Ms. Connell.

Unrelated to her McShin work, Ms. Connell had applied for a job as a criminal investigator with the agency.

“They called me for an interview” early last year, she said. “I told them I wasn’t interested in the job anymore — that I was doing work for McShin. At that point, I was asked to come in, because they had heard about the McShin program in the Chesterfield County jail.”

Ms. Connell, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Liberty University, in February met with Sheriff Mosier, Capt. Ray Acors and jail staffers.

As a result, McShin in April 2017 began counseling inmates.
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RecoveryCafe · May 4, 2018 at 12:23 pm
My name is James,I was addicted to heroin for 30yrs
I am clean for over 8,000 days.I ask this question often after Rehab Then What?
My desire here in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. Where heroin and lack of any substantial after care resources is to build a Recovery Cafe model of after care.I am a pod cast Recovery Radio host at Please contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ...
Rover 530 · May 3, 2018 at 11:51 pm
This was a non-survivable project. Hope they can do better elsewhere in the area.
jhunt48 · May 3, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Very sad for our community!
TheWeez · May 3, 2018 at 3:38 pm
I love this line: "Agreeing with opponents, the council deemed the proposed use unsuited to the area.". "To the area". It's 50 yards from the jail AND the courthouse. Where better should a drug addiction treatment center be?
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