Celebrating 70 Years as Greater Cleveland’s Trusted Addiction Recovery Center

In 1948, Stella Maris (which translates to “Star of the Sea”) opened its doors. Father Otis Winchester of the neighboring St. Malachi Church and members of a relatively new organization, Alcoholics Anonymous, recognized the need for a place to house and support homeless men through their recovery from alcohol dependency.

Originally housing 11 men at a time who were undergoing alcoholic treatment and recovery, Stella Maris was a refuge where they received three meals a day, a prescribed course of treatment, and the camaraderie of others. The goal was to end their addiction and rebuild their lives.

Today, Stella Maris continues to identify needs and develop programs to meet them. Experts in substance abuse treatment, we offer comprehensive services to help men and women move from addiction to recovery and begin to lead a substance-free life.

We treat more than 1,800 individuals per year through a connected set of programs and services that we call a “Continuum of Care.” We work with community partners throughout Northeast Ohio. Still located in Cleveland’s Flats West Bank neighborhood, we look forward to many more years of service.

Stella Maris Milestones

Here are some significant milestones in our history:

By 1968 – We had two buildings: a hospital, and a dormitory for 73 men.

By 1981 – We had grown to three buildings. That year, we were operating on a monthly budget of $35,000 and renovated our detoxification center to become certified for insurance payments.

In May 1985 – Margaret B. Roche became executive director and led Stella Maris until retirement in 2012.

By 1989 – We offered inpatient treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, including detoxification, counseling, aftercare and job referrals. We operated a halfway house for former addicts and a retail store selling refurbished items.

In 1999 – We completed a capital campaign and renovated our 16-bed detoxification unit.

In 2001 – We acquired Joint Commission accreditation. This demonstrated a high quality of service and made contracts with health insurance companies possible.

By 2002 – We contracted with all major health insurers in Northeast Ohio as a provider of detoxification treatment. We also implemented an electronic health records system for the detoxification unit.

In 2005 – We completed a capital campaign and renovated our 40-bed men’s dormitory. We received the Woodruff Prize for Outstanding Agency in the Field of Chemical Dependency Treatment.

In 2006 – We completed a $2.7 million capital campaign to build the Gallagher Outpatient Center and expand chemical dependency and mental health services. This Center also offered new space for 12-Step meetings, a 125-seat auditorium, and a 1,500-square-foot coffee shop where alumni and others in recovery could share their experiences with the newly sober.

In 2007 – We were recognized for Outstanding Work by the ADAMHS of Cuyahoga County. We also collaborated with Recovery Resources and Community Challenge in a yearlong Children of Alcoholics Outreach Collaboration initiative.

In 2008 – We were certified by Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) and accredited by the Joint Commission, ensuring that our programs and services meet the highest standards in behavioral medicine and the needs of those served.

In 2012 – We installed an electronic medical records and billing system, acquired certification by OHMAS and renovated our detoxification unit.

In 2018 – We opened our first recovery house for women, joining Carlyle House, Stella Maris’ recovery house for men, which had opened in 2017.

History