Alan Richards said it was a "miracle" that he was able to speak before the crowd gathered in the community room at West Middle School Apartments Monday afternoon.
"I suffered for quite a long time from opioid addiction…," Richards said during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new apartment building. "A few years ago, my opioid addiction became a really huge problem in my life. It took everything away from me: my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, everything I owned. I committed a crime, I attempted suicide a number of times. I was in a very dark place and it took a lot of effort to be where I am right now."
Richards is a tenant at West Middle School Apartments, a once-vacant school building that has been turned into affordable apartments. Fifteen of the building's 59 units are subsidized by Unity House, a non-profit that offers programs and housing for people with disabilities, mental illnesses and addictions. Richards lives in one of the Unity House apartments.