TOBYHANNA, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The department of drug and alcohol programs highlighted PA’s first licensed recovery house in the Poconos.

The rain didn’t put a damper on the recognition of PA’s first licensed recovery house in Pennsylvania the ‘We Have a Choice’ Justin’s house.

The department of drug and alcohol programs, along with State Representative Maureen Madden, highlights the importance of a recovery home being licensed.

“Coming from somebody who battled her own heroin addiction, to being the owner of the very first licensed recovery house is an amazing feeling. It just sets up a part and we’re just hoping to break the stigma,” stated Amanda Ramirez, co-owner of Justin’s House.

The home is named after Ramirez’s brother – Justin – who died of a fentanyl overdose nearly a year ago.

Her mother, Kathleen Molesi, is the part-owner and says seeing men recover from their substance use disorder makes it worthwhile.

“It gives me such a feeling, it’s unbelievable. I mean we’ve had people here… one guy in the house, we’ve had him for six years. He loves it here, he says he’s never going to leave.”

The home has been around for six years – providing a structured environment and support services to nearly 100 men.

“When you actually go out on your own, you have to know what you’re doing. Some of them never knew what it was like to vacuum a rug, make a bed,” explained Molesi.

Damien Wolfe is a resident in the recovery home and says the program has helped him better his life.

“It helps me out a lot. The support, especially like I said getting my stuff back together. Jobs, right around the corner, they’re really supportive,” Wolfe said.

Justin’s House is one of 32 licensed recovery homes in the state more than two hundred other centers are in the application process.

Officials stress the need for recovery homes to be licensed. Beginning June 9th recovery homes that receive public funding could face fines if they are not properly licensed.

To learn more about the licensing progress head to Justin’s House Facebook for more information.