NORTH ADAMS — Four years in the making, the city soon will have its first recovery home for people living with significant co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

With the assistance of a nearly $400,000 donation from Berkshire Health Systems, The Brien Center will open Keenan House North by early next year.

"The Brien Center has the experience and comprehensive programs needed to support those with mental illness and addiction get their lives back on track," Christine Macbeth, president and CEO of The Brien Center, said in a written statement.

The center, though, didn't have the resources to purchase and renovate a home large enough for the planned services.

"David Phelps, President and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems, and the BHS Board of Trustees stepped forward to help ensure that desperately needed services are available in our community," Macbeth said.

Berkshire Health Systems purchased the old Victorian-style building at 42-44 Arnold Place for $138,000 and is investing an additional $250,000 to fully renovate the house for use as a recovery home for 16 individuals at a time.

The idea for the home percolated in 2015, when Berkshire Health Systems met with The Brien Center to assess what the needs were within the addiction community, according to Phelps. At that meeting, the need for a stabilization unit for individuals after they exit a detox program and residential treatment in North County was discussed.

Berkshire Health Systems decided to take on the stabilization unit on its own, and then assist The Brien Center financially to build the residential center.

"Our board, without hesitation, voted to provide that capital," Phelps said in an interview. "That's pretty unusual."

During the four years that followed, the organizations worked to get state certifications in place. With renovations underway, The Brien Center is hiring 24/7 staff for the facility, according to Megan Wroldson, director of the Adult Outpatient Services Division.

Unlike the residential treatment programs through The Brien Center in Pittsfield, the North Adams home will be focused on co-occurring mental health and addiction treatment.

"It's still a homelike setting in a community," Wroldson said. "It's definitely distinct from a more hospital level of care."

The residents of the house, which will serve men and women, likely will have had a recent experience in which a mental health issue prevented them from success in their recovery from addiction, Wroldson said.

Knowing that "the really transformative conversations about recovery and life" can happen outside business hours, there will be male and female staff on-site overnight, Wroldson said.

Since the project first was pitched, the state has stepped up its commitment to co-occurring mental health and addiction treatment, she said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Addiction Services awarded The Brien Center a $445,000 contract as part of the state's promise to add 500 more recovery beds statewide, and enhanced services for individuals with co-occurring disorders of mental illness and addiction.

The North Adams program will be one of 25 similar homes across the state, Wroldson said.

"The Berkshires, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a substance use disorder epidemic, and it was critical that Northern Berkshire have the resources to help those in our community who are suffering to receive the care and guidance they so badly need," Phelps said in a statement.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.