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      Abba House opens doors after year of renovations

      After a year of renovations, the Downtown Womenâ??s Center opened the doors to its Abba House Monday for women recovering from addiction.

      The Abba House is the next stage for women a part of the Downtown Womenâ??s Centerâ??s two-year recovery program.

      â??At Abba house is where they have a little more independence,â??said Downtown Womenâ??s Center Executive Director Diann Gilmore. â??They are able to have their own apartment, they do their own cooking for themselves, they can kind of come and go as they please. They still have curfews but they donâ??t have near as many restrictions as they did at Haven House.â??

      The Abba House is over 100 years old and had been closed for renovations to comply with the city of Amarilloâ??s code. Renovations were funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the city. The building contains 10 units and is located next to the Downtown Womenâ??s Center offices.

      The biggest difference for the women that will be able to move into the Abba House is that they will be able to live with their children.

      "They cannot have their children at Haven House,â?? said Gilmore.â??Here they have their own apartment so they can reunite with their children. That's the most important thing for these women are to have their families back."

      Many of the women have had to wait months, some even years in order to be reunited with their children. Moving into the Abba House was a big step in their recovery process.

      â??Itâ??s really exciting,â?? said Abba House resident Denise Gutierrez.â??Weâ??ve had to be separated from them. We got weekend passes and stuff but itâ??s not the same as actually having a place for them to stay with us at.â??

      After spending years away from living with her daughter, Jyl Spence is more than excited to settle down into her new apartment and get a fresh start at the Abba House.

      â??Itâ??s a place where Iâ??m going to get my daughter back,â?? said Spence. â??Weâ??re going to get to start our new life.â??

      Although the doors to Abba are back open, women will be able to officially move into their new apartments within the next two weeks.

      For more information on the Downtown Womenâ??s Center, visit