Aletheia House

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Aletheia House is a non-profit center for the treatment of substance abuse. Its offices are located at 201 Finley Avenue and its executive director is Chris Retan. The organization is named after the Greek word "ἀλήθεια ", meaning "truth", or, more literally "un-hidden".

In addition to its 100-bed in-patient treatment center, the organization actively develops housing units, ranging from intensely-supervised apartments for at-risk outpatients to infill construction in older Birmingham neighborhoods which serve as transitional housing as well as contributing to community revitalization.

Aletheia House also provides transportation services for low-income workers and operates summer day camps in public housing projects.


Aletheia House was founded by Youth for Christ minister Ron Yount in 1972 and originally focused on ministering to homeless teenagers. Retan was hired in 1978, around the time that the organization purchased the former Sterling Foster residence on Niazuma Avenue from the defunct Red Mountain School. The group moved out of that house before 1983 when the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs purchased it to use as their state-wide headquarters office.

In 2000 Aletheia House was awarded a $165,720 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta to purchase and renovate a 28-unit apartment building to house recovering substance abusers who would otherwise be homeless.

From 2003 to 2005 Aletheia House participated in "Another Chance", a program meant to bring together resources from state agencies and community groups to help female parolees make the transition to productive life on the outside. The program suffered from miscommunications and served only a fraction of its intended target group. Partly because the special parole board instituted to review the eligibility of non-violent offenders for transitional programs was abolished by legislation supported by Attorney General Troy King in 2005.

In 2004 Aletheia House developed the Avondale Gardens apartment community with 64 units for lower-income households, including graduates of substance abuse programs and people being treated for mental illnesses. The project won a Maxwell Award of Excellence from the Fannie Mae Foundation.

In 2005 the organization was mistakenly listed as part of President Bush's "faith-based initiative", although it is not affiliated with any church or religious group.

In 2008 Aletheia House was awarded $950,000 in grants from the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to expand residential and outpatient programs for pregnant women, new mothers, and families with children.

Another 2008 grant, for $500,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, went toward the Highland View Apartments. Aletheia House also provides job training services to homeless veterans under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration and Veterans' Workforce Investment Programs.

In 2009 the facility won a three-year $1.2 million grant to expand its "Men of Honor" program, providing treatment, employment services and housing to substance-abusing males after their release from prison. The program will continue treatment programs begun in prison and will accept at least 60 inmates per year. The grant is funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Preceded by:
Red Mountain School
Sterling Foster residence
(2728 Niazuma Avenue)

1978–c. 1981
Succeeded by:
Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs



  • "AmSouth lands housing grant in conjunction with Aletheia House." (July 12, 2000) Birmingham Business Journal
  • "Fannie Mae lauds Aletheia House." (July 30, 2004) Birmingham Business Journal
  • Johnson, Bob (January 4, 2005) "Birmingham program questions White House 'faith-based' listing." Associated Press
  • Crowder, Carla (February 22, 2005) "Bill would end parole panel for the nonviolent." The Birmingham News
  • Crowder, Carla (March 7, 2006) "Women's parole program flounders." The Birmingham News
  • Gordon, Tom (October 8, 2009) "Aletheia House gets $1.2 million grant to set up substance abuse program for ex-prisoners." The Birmingham News

External links