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SOMERSET – A federal-state partnership has awarded $1 million to allow Twin Lakes Center to add a new detox unit at its Somerset Township facility.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, formed decades ago to assist coal communities, announced the grant Wednesday as part of a $3.3 million investment from New York to northern Alabama.

For Twin Lakes, the grant will support a project that would allow the treatment provider to serve an additional 472 patients a year – supporting 33 jobs in the process, officials with the D.C.-based commission said.

"This is going to be a godsend for Twin Lakes – and the region," Somerset County President Commissioner Gerald Walker said, noting there's a need for detoxification beds across the area.

At a time the drug epidemic continues to challenge the Cambria-Somerset area, adding additional capacity could provide "immediate help" for those in need.

"Adding more beds ... is something we've looked at for a long time," Walker said.

The county commissioners partnered with the nonprofit to apply for the funds.

Somerset Hospital's Twin Lakes Center has been providing both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse recovery support to people in recovery since 1983.

Under its residential treatment program, the current "detox" area accepts admissions 24-7, Twin Lakes' website shows. The area is staffed with a medical director and nursing team that is also trained to treat medical and psychological programs that accompany the disease.

The Appalachian Regional Commission has existed since the 1960s under a 14-member commission that includes 13 state governors and a federally-approved co-chairman. The current board includes Governor Tom Wolf and a commission co-chairman appointed by President Donald Trump, Tim Thomas, a longtime aide under Sen. Mitch McConnell.

"These three investments in Appalachian communities well-represent the breadth of the work ARC is doing through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative," Thomas said. "Whether it's funding important broadband infrastructure to ensure citizens and businesses have competitive internet access, investing in facilities for individuals navigating the substance abuse recovery to work process, or helping communities capitalize on the transformative change Opportunity Zones can provide, POWER is helping change the narrative for coal-impacted Appalachia."

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-Blair, applauded the news.

"This POWER grant will allow Twin Lakes Center to expand its capacity to care for those in recovery and continue offering hope and support to our community," Joyce said.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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