More than two dozen people gathered at the Olive Transit Center in Greenfield to discuss challenges, barriers, and opportunities in developing more sober housing in the region.

Thousands of people in Massachusetts have substance use disorders, which is why the Franklin County Opioid Task Force and the North Quabbin Region staged the first annual Sober Housing Summit.

“So we’re hoping today we can explore ideas about how we could look at housing stock that is no longer on a tax roll that could be rehabbed into sober housing,” said Debrha McLaughlin, Opioid Task Force of Franklin County coordinator. “How could we work with interested homeowners and so we want to be creative and innovative, and look at all those possibilities.”

McLaughlin told 22News, there is a lack of sober housing in the region, which is a huge issue for those in recovery. There’s also a lack of affordable housing and employment opportunities.

A local property owner, who is in long-term recovery himself, told 22News, he wants to be part of the solution.

“One of the reasons why we’re happy to be here is to really help those that are thinking about opening a sober home understand the best practices, how to do that and how they can get help from our agency to provide safe places for people in early recovery to live,” said Troy Clarkson, Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing executive director.

As deaths continue to climb in rural areas of the Commonwealth, the Opioid Task Force told 22News there is a need to provide safe and sober housing.