Morris Home celebrates five years

Alonda is seeking treatment for drug abuse, but as a transgender woman, she struggled to find a recovery center sensitive to her unique health needs. Fortunately, she discovered RHD’s Morris Home, where Alonda said she’s gaining “the confidence to live in my true self.”

This year Morris Home celebrates five years as the first residential recovery program in the country to offer comprehensive services specifically for trans- and gender non-conforming individuals. Today the pioneering facility continues to navigate new territory in trans-affirming care. This year Morris Home was honored by the Mayor’s Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission with the Treatment Provider Award, and Morris Home clients raised the Pride flag over City Hall to kick off LGBTQ history month.

“We are the only inpatient rehab specifically for the trans community, and now more than ever it’s important that people have a space they can define as their own and know that they are safe,” Morris Home Director Laura Sorensen said.

Morris Home is named for Nizah Morris, a Philadelphia transgender woman who was murdered in 2002. The program has become an active part of the LGBTQ community; Morris Home residents participate in events such as the Trans Health Conference, Pride OUTfest and other partner organization activities. These experiences “really help our members reintegrate back into the community with a little support by their side,” said Sorensen.

“Most of our folks have delayed seeking treatment for substance abuse issues because they have had so many traumatic experiences that are directly related to their gender identity or presentation,” said Andrew Spiers, lead therapist at Morris Home. “Morris Home functions as a family and once you come through the doors, you are part of the family.”

During their time at Morris Home, 89 percent of clients transitioned from “gray market” hormones to medically monitored hormone therapy, 64 percent reconnected with family members and 25 percent gained employment or volunteer experience.