In November 1979 long-time Rockland resident Dick Voigt saw the need to initiate a program focused on guiding individuals struggling with addiction to recovery and returning him or her to productive citizenship. He purchased a timeworn boarding house at 57 Sharp St. in Haverstraw, which with community involvement became a halfway house known as Open Arms. Open Arms was modeled after a successful program in California that utilized a residential environment created specifically for group supported rehabilitation with a homelike lifestyle. In 1983 Dick Voigt purchased a house at 74 Hudson Ave. in Haverstraw for 10-12 men who completed the Open Arms program.
In 1985 Open Arms Inc. became a not-for-profit corporation (501-C3) receiving state and federal tax-exempt status. A Board of Directors was created to support the agency. In 1986 Open Arms becomes certified as a Halfway House Community Residence by New York State and begins receiving state funding. In 1989 Open Arms Inc. opened 8 clean and sober apartments in nearby Garnerville. In 1995 Open Arms opened the first state certified “supported living” apartments for women in Garnerville. In 2003 Open Arms received the Award of Excellence from the Rockland County Executive for “exemplary support of employment for persons with disabilities”. In 2005 the Open Arms women’s program expanded to 20 state certified apartment beds and a Child Visitation Center opened. In 2011 the house on Hudson Ave. was converted into a 12-bed halfway house for women after an extensive renovation was completed. In 2014 the Supported Living program was transferred to a single rental building with 6 women beds and a 10 male bed program. In the coming years we hope to renovate the Men’s House on Sharp Street as a showplace for Recovery Living.
With continuing support from the staff, the Board of Directors, local and state funding sources and the community, Open Arms looks to the future where we can provide hope and a safe living environment for those wanting to be free of the bondage of addiction and live a better life where everyone will benefit.