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Fellowship House joins forces with Cazenovia Recovery

Cazenovia Recovery Systems recently expanded its reach into Niagara County with the acquisition of Fellowship House facilities and programs.

The Buffalo-based not-for-profit organization operates residential programs for individuals in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse disorders.

Two community residences for men and women – Somerset House in Appleton and Sundram Manor in Niagara Falls – are now under the Cazenovia umbrella, as well as Madonna House in Lockport, which provides intensive rehabilitation for women and their children.

Cazenovia also offers supportive living program apartments in Lockport and Niagara Falls for men, women and residents’ children, focusing on independent living skills and relapse prevention.

In addition, Cazenovia’s Niagara County Clinical Office has been relocated to Canal Terrace, 76 West Ave., Lockport, along with its supportive living program. The new phone number is 282-8510.

“This move makes our location more central to our Niagara County programs and services and allows us to better serve the community,” said Suzanne L. Bissonette, Cazenovia’s executive director.

With the Jan. 1 merger, Cazenovia grew its adult bed capacity by 20 percent.

Bissonette said the transition has proceeded smoothly, as the two organizations shared similar missions and services.

Staff from both agencies worked closely on the project for the past six months, with the cooperation of the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, as well as Niagara County.

Bissonette said Fellowship staff who elected to stay and the Cazenovia staff “have done a champion job to make this work.”

She added, “We immersed ourselves in understanding their operations, then spent the last quarter of 2015 training them in Cazenovia’s practices and philosophies.”

Andrea Ocasio, Cazenovia’s director of clinical services, said these moves “will allow services to continue that are desperately needed in Niagara County.”

Tangela Watson-Bogan, formerly with Fellowship, is Cazenovia’s new clinical supervisor for Niagara County.

If Cazenovia had not taken over Fellowship’s programs, “they would have disappeared,” she noted.

“Because the staff is better informed and because we now have more resources, our residents will be better served,” she said.

Founded in 1981 in Buffalo, Cazenovia provides comprehensive services to men and women in recovery, many of whom have co-occurring mental health disorders, and are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In 2015, 887 individuals, including 47 military veterans, were served, in four different levels of care: intensive residential rehabilitation, community residences, supportive living peer apartments, and independent housing.