Portland facility helps women who are pregnant, homeless and add - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Portland facility helps women who are pregnant, homeless and addicted to heroin

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Being homeless, pregnant and addicted to heroin is a deadly combination and a growing problem in Kentuckiana.

A local organization is operating out of a home in the Portland neighborhood and trying to save mothers and their unborn children.

It is called the Bridge The Gap House, and it comes with an open-door policy.

The goal is to find women who are pregnant and addicted to drugs and help them turn their lives around before it's too late.

"I was introduced to it because I had back surgery, and they put me on pain medicine," said Anna Simmons, who is a recovering addict.

Simmons' history with heroin use started like a lot of users.

"I tried it, and I liked it, and I didn't stop," she said.

Simmons said even finding out she was pregnant didn't stop the abuse.

"It wasn't easy just to up and quit."

Simmons eventually moved into Bridge the Gap House and was able to kick the habit with a lot of help.

"Women are losing their children in record numbers," said Hazel Parrish, Executive Director Bridge The Gap House.

Parrish is also a certified drug and alcohol counselor.

"It is deadly because women are dying," she said.

Parrish opened the Bridge the Gap House in January to help women like Simmons.

"Heroin is so vicious and so relentless, that women are dying in record numbers even while they're pregnant ... you are losing two lives," Parrish said.

Parrish is supporting the house and families from her own pocket, but said she needs financial help and volunteers.

"The women who can work after they have their baby will go to work and start paying, but I am already in a deficit."

"I felt guilty as I was doing it," Simmons said.

Meanwhile, the guilt helped Simmons kick the habit, but not every story has a happy ending.

"I was down at the L&N building, and I had taken some of my medication," she said.

Two weeks ago, Simmons gave birth to a baby girl but said she is in foster care.

The baby girl was taken away after a relapse.

"I fell asleep there with her; so they took her from me," Simmons said.

To learn more about The Bridge The Gap House, click here.

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