Sinnissippi Centers addresses concerns about new recovery home in Amboy


AMBOY — Sinnissippi Centers is in the process of opening a recovery home for women and women with children in Amboy.

Sinnissippi Centers President/CEO Patrick Phalen, along with employees, addressed the Amboy City Council on Monday night. The council met in regular session at 6 p.m. in the Amboy Community Center.

Phalen said this home would be a safe and sober place where the women can get treatment and stay sober. He said the home would be staffed 24 hours a day. Addressing safety concerns, Phalen said this home would not be some place where people would be coming or going at all hours.

Stephanie Englund of Sinnissippi Centers said that the residents would have a strict curfew of 8 p.m., with few exceptions. She talked about the recovery home for men in Dixon which was opened in May 2018. She said that since that home opened, they haven’t had a security incident. The recovery home in Dixon houses 10 men, and the program has seen five men graduate from the program. She said that the length of stay at the recovery home is usually 6-9 months, but could be longer if needed. 

She said the overall purpose of the home is to become an active member of the community.

Phalen said Sinnissippi is looking at May/June to open the recovery home. He said it could take up to six months to get the home filled with 10 residents. He added that some of these women may also have children, so there could be more than 10 residents living in the home at any time.

An audience member who lives near the property said his concern is if he will be able to sell his house with a recovery home next door.

Englund said property values are a legit concern and something to investigate. She added that someone may want to purchase a home next to the recovery home and open a childcare center. 

Another employee from Sinnissippi Centers said that the residents at the recovery home are no different than we are. She added that you will stand next to them in the check-out line of the grocery store or sit next to them in the pew at church.

“Our goal is to be the best neighbor you ever had,” Phalen said.

Former Amboy City Alderman Daryl Stuckemeyer said that the recovery home got his son straightened out, and that he has since graduated from the recovery home and is doing much better.

Another audience member who lives near the property said she didn’t know about it until she opened up the newspaper (Dixon Telegraph) and read about it.

Phalen said it wasn’t their intention to announce it the way it happened. He said a reporter called and said they heard they bought a house for a recovery home.

Englund said that the recovery home has a no drug use policy, and that the residents have a real commitment to want to change their life.

Amboy City Alderman Brandon Klein asked how the residents are coming and going, if they have personal vehicles?

Englund said not everyone who will reside in the home has a driver’s license, and that if they do, they are not allowed to access private vehicles until they earn that privilege. She said that mostly, the resident will be using LOTS, Lee-Ogle Transportation System.

Klein said this home would be right in the middle of a residential area and with adding 20 new residents there will be a lot going on.

“It’s going to be a change for that little niche,” Klein said, adding that if he lived there, he would be a little uneasy at first. He said that he just doesn’t want it to be an issue, and that people are concerned and he just hopes everything goes well.

Phalen said this would be one home in Amboy that he guarantees is drug and alcohol free.

Englund said the residents of this home are not there because they are homeless, but are there because they need another level of support in their sobriety. 

In other board news:

The council approved Paul Smith as part-time Amboy Police Chief. Alderman Brett Dewey said Smith will be a part-time chief until the city can afford to hire a full-time chief. 

Mayor John Schamberger said that Smith can work a total of 999 hours a year, which breaks out to about 20 hours a week. He added that Smith will help to get more structure back in the police department.

Dewey added that he is sure that Smith will be able to fill the gap, and that the city is still paying former police chief Jeff Blake for the time he earned.

The next Amboy City Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 10, in the Amboy Community Building.