Construction begins on new residential treatment center for men in Milwaukee

NOW: Construction begins on new residential treatment center for men in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A residential treatment facility for men is expanding in Milwaukee's Midtown neighborhood.

Serenity Inns has been helping men overcome substance abuse since 2004. Now, they'll be able to touch even more lives.

Along with Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Serenity Inns board members broke ground Tuesday on their new treatment center off 29th and Brown Street, right across from their original facility.

"This is right in the heart of the community, and we're here to serve the community," said Ken Ginlack, the executive director/CEO of Serenity Inns.

The new 14-bed building will allow Serenity Inns to help 60 more men per year.

"We receive four to five calls a day of individuals looking to get into treatment, and a lot of times we have to say no, we don't have a bed available," Ginlack said. "Sixty more men a year, 60 more lives that could be potentially saved."

Plans for the 6,000-sq. ft. facility include a fitness room, library, and community classroom.

It's an addition Milwaukee County's Department of Health says is necessary.

"We've seen new records every year in overdose deaths in our community. It's a very significant community need," said Michael Lappen, administrator for behavior health at DHHS.

The mission hits close to home for Ginlack, who went through treatment himself 16 years ago.

"As I got clean and in recovery, my family started to heal and get better, and so they were able to see me make that transition, make that change into a better man," Ginlack said.

In 2017, CBS 58 visited Serenity Inns' existing home during a fellowship dinner, which they have 365 days a year.

"Some of the guys say, 'this is my first time sitting down as a family,'" Ginlack said. "It's very, very powerful."

The $3 million project will be funded by grants and donations.

Treatment will be covered by Medicaid, and the county will help with room and board.

"Milwaukee County has the resources to support programs like Serenity Inn and others so we can that gap," Lappen said.

Donations are still needed to help fund the new facility.

They're hoping to open by next summer.

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