Gangs are nothing new to Dartmouth.
Back in the late sixties Bernie Schultz ran with a gang out of Jackson Road.
These kids were experimenting with whatever was available.
Schultz was 12 when he began to drink with his friends. Drugs followed.
"I went to find my fortune in the hard hat industry at age 15. But the old Lamplighter Tavern got my fame and fortune instead."
Then began an almost 30-year relationship with drugs and alcohol that robbed him of everything.
"At the end of it all I was sleeping in a box under the bridge. Fortunately, I was able to stop drinking and drugging with the help of a well known 12- step program and I celebrated 15 years of sobriety in December."
But his journey to wellness did not stop when he became sober.
Last November he became co founder of the "Last House on the Block Society."
"We are planning to buy a house in Dartmouth and operate a safe, secure living environment for men in recovery from addictions to alcohol, drugs or gambling."
Schultz worked as a caseworker and saw first hand how homelessness is a huge problem for recovering addicts.
"It is a problem that most people don't think about. Most places are always full."
Schultz says he used to spend many hours at local coffee shops drinking his coffee very slowly because he had no where to go.
"I have always believed that although it was the twelve step program that saved my life, it was the transition house that kept me alive long enough for that other miracle to occur."
Over the years Schultz says he entertained the idea of opening a transition house.
"Of course I never did open one because I always thought someone else with more knowledge of these things or more money or more political sway would eventually come to the same conclusion as me. And then I recalled something my old sponsor used to say to me. If everyone thinks that someone else is making the coffee, the coffee will never get made. So it's time to put on a big pot of coffee."
Schultz and his six board of directors, including his wife Nancy have approached politicians for direction.
"Our goal is to direct the men at our house to treatment services, self help meetings, life skills, leisure activities , training and employment
The average stay per person will be six to ten months.
"We haven't acquired a building yet and no money has fallen out of the sky yet so most of what we plan to do is still largely theoretical, but
something tells me that 2013 is going to be an interesting year for everyone involved in this project," said Schultz.
Someone once asked him, 'What is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?'
"I said it was the look in an alcoholic or addict's eyes when they realized that there was hope for them. If you want to be part of bringing them that hope, now is your chance. "
There are five available seats left on the voluntary board of directors.
Application forms are available either from Bernie Schultz at (902) 789-0848. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LastHouseOnTheBlockSociety