Russell Brand's Rehab Gets Federal Funding

By Chrisanne Grise 04/18/13

The actor is opening "Freehab," a no-cost drug treatment program for LA's homeless.

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Brand is "astonished" by the plight of
homeless addicts.
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Russell Brand’s rehab program, Freehab, has received $500,000 in federal funds from the Los Angeles City Council. The nonprofit, no-cost drug treatment program plans to use the money to expand and renovate an 88-bed facility previously run by People in Progress, a nonprofit organization that went bankrupt last year. “When I spent some time in downtown Los Angeles, I was astonished by the degree and severity of homelessness in our community,” says Brand, “it’s astonishing that we’ve learned to acclimate to this extreme condition of people who are the same as us being cast aside.” Freehab already has two satellite locations in Hollywood and Skid Row, and they plan to accommodate about 200 people when they open the new center this fall. Councilman Richard Alarcon praised Brand’s efforts, especially after the loss of People in Progress. “[The closure] came as a shock and it created a gap in resources,” he says. So when Brand approached the councilman about running his own treatment program, Alarcon suggested using some money which was originally allocated to a different project. The council voted 12-0 to approve the funding yesterday. Brand, now ten years clean, has been extremely vocal about his own battles with addiction. He has become a powerful advocate for the addiction and recovery community, and continues to express his belief that addicts, like himself, who were once a “terrible detriment to society” are capable of change.

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices, AbsolutePunk.net, Chorus.fm, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.