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History and Profile
Dr. Isadore Tuerk began his career as a psychiatrist and served as commissioner of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for eight years. He made significant contributions to the field of addiction recovery and constantly lobbied for more funding for Maryland’s disadvantaged. Tuerk House, Inc. was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1970 on Greene Street on Baltimore's west side, near to the University of Maryland where Dr. Tuerk had professional affiliations. Most clients in those early days were alcoholic men.
Over the years, the facilities and programs of Tuerk House have expanded in response to the problems of Baltimore's most needy. Nilsson House was established as a halfway house for women, and Weisman-Kaplan House was opened as a halfway house for men in 1984. Later on, in conjunction with the Howard County Health Department, Tuerk House opened a halfway house for men in Ellicott City, known as Howard House. Tuerk House achieved major stability in 1990when moved to its present location at 730 Ashburton Street, previously the site of West Baltimore General Hospital and then Lutheran Hospital. Named in honor of the organization’s founder, Tuerk House has 75 intermediate and long-term care beds for men and women. Also located at the Ashburton Street main campus is an outpatient program and peer support program that provides continuing care.
In the forty-three years that have passed since its humble start, Tuerk House has helped over 24,000 clients suffering from a broad and complex array of substance abuse and co-morbid problems. Today over 70% of men and women who come to Tuerk House for help are opiate dependent and they may be addicted to cocaine, alcohol and other drugs as well. In 2014, almost 1,300 Marylanders received addiction treatment in one of its programs. The treatment population is characterized by being below the poverty line (95%), jobless (65%) and homeless (74%). Many of our clients are referred to us by the judicial system. In addition to their addiction, many patients also have significant secondary medical problems. In addition to their addiction, many patients also have significant secondary medical problems.
Tuerk House counselors are skilled at supporting their patients in sustaining recovery behaviors and in accessing supportive services, as well as providing services to prepare them to re-enter society as healthy, productive individuals. Daily, addicted people with HIV and AIDS, records of multiple felonies, significant histories of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, chronic psychiatric issues, and other chronic medical issues come to Tuerk House for help. With its full range of treatment services under one organizational roof, Tuerk House welcomes people from desperate circumstances and successfully moves them from homelessness and helplessness to the beginnings of recovery and self-sufficiency.