Let me start by saying I was a resident of the HERO house in Kennesaw, GA from December 2011 until April 2012. My departure from the program was not because I completed the program but because I chose to leave after making the decision to consume alcohol. Though the terms of my departure were not ideal, they have absolutely nothing to do with the reason for this posting. This post does not come from anger or resentment of the house because, frankly, I feel neither towards the place. I am writing this in hopes to warn others who are looking for a solid place to go after having been to an in-patient treatment facility. This is not the place you should attend. There are many programs like it roughly in the same vicinity which off a much better environment for recovery. "Well," you may be thinking, "in what ways does the HERO House fall short in its promises?" Allow me to tell you.
First, when they are selling their program to a customer, there will be many promises made. The first of these will be the assurance that they will provide transportation to any locations that the residents need to go. Now most people will agree that it is impossible to guarantee transportation to all activities or places that a person might need to go. That is totally understandable. However, on many occasions, I have witnessed myself and others miss important doctors appointments due to the inability to attain a ride. This is after weeks of notice that we had to be somewhere, and the HERO House promising that they would have us there, that on the day of the appointment we would be told that there is no ride for us and we should have secured our own ride. Again, all this would be fine if they did not promise to provide transportation. Additionally it should be noted that their idea of them supplying transportation is allowing residents to pay other residents to drive them places. They do have a house van, which is rarely ever used, and I have been told that it is not to be used to drive us to personal appointments (doctors appointments, therapists, grocery stores, etc...)
Second, in their brochure (and when I was sold the program) one is assured that they will help you attain employment near the house. They, as most recovery centers would agree, say having a job and being a productive individual can be highly beneficial in recovery. In the 4 months I was there, the HERO House helped me find approximately zero jobs. They also coached me on how to find and apply for work approximately zero times. I understand that as a young adult the responsibility at the end of the day falls onto me to find work. I applied for over 50 different jobs while a resident there and did not get one of them. I know how to apply for work, or at least I believe I do, but I clearly was doing something wrong. The thing I learned most while a resident of the HERO House was that they do not actually help you do anything (sometimes even when asked). They feign an interest in your activities and ask how you are doing but when a real favor is needed or serious question asked, they seem to suddenly have something extremely important to do anywhere else.
The third complaint I have about the HERO House is the quality of the homes themselves. While a resident there, I was proud to have found upwards of a cockroach a week. The residents I lived with plus myself were fairly clean and definitely did not leave food lying around, or any thing else that would attract bugs for that matter. Yet despite being made aware of the problem numerous times, they did not take any actions to get rid of the insects. While this is mildly unsanitary, it is only one example of issues with the house not being taken seriously. In one of the houses the oven was broken and took over a month and half to even get looked at by a repairman. The water dispenser has also been broken for over a month and is yet to be fixed as of the time of this report, despite those in charge being well aware of the situation. There are more examples but I think you get the idea.
Finally, this last point is not an issue that happened to me personally but to two of my very good friends who I still live with even though we have both since left the HERO house. Unfortunately, the HERO House is so used to making their own rules, and not adhering to what they say they will do, that apparently Federal Laws are optional to them. On multiple occasions, he has seen fit to relay information about residents in the house, about the status of their recovery, and other personal details of them being in the house to people that the aforementioned residents had not given consent for him to speak to. This is a blatant violation of the law and frankly an appalling abuse of the knowledge that he has of the residents. I would go into more details of the events but as these individuals are looking into pursuing legal ramifications against the HERO House I do not believe it is my place to provide specifics to these events.
In summation, the HERO House is truly a sad excuse for a recovery center. I am sure the owner (an incredible confidence man who will play on the fear of parents with children just out of rehab) or an employee of this program will respond to this report saying that I was asked to leave or I was not the best resident they ever had. I preemptively would like to respond as saying that I chose to leave, not go to an intensive out patient program just to come back to a house that clearly does not actually care about its residents. Also I may not have been the most self-motivated individual in the program, but that does not make me unobservant. I know what was wrong with the program and I urge you to heed my warnings. If your child is looking for a place that will only be supportive when there is no support needed, this is the place for you. But if you want your child at a safe-sober living community that will support them in the good times and help bring them up out the rough times, this is not the community you wish to be at. They severely misrepresent the services they offer, they are quite less than helpful when you are in need of transportation or support, the house has not been renovated in years and is infested with bugs, and, most importantly, they do not uphold the privacy granted by the HIPPA law. Honestly, I have lived in many different environments throughout my entire life and this was the most stressful. I had to constantly watch my stuff so it would not get stolen because there were no staff members that helped me secure my belongings. If this report helps only one person to make a better decision than I did and go to a more sound, productive house I will be happy. Do not be fooled by the lies they spread here, the HERO House is not helpful if you are not 100% self motivated and need to rely on anyone else for anything. Just explore other options besides this place.