Raised in South Portland, Ben began to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol on a daily basis around age 13. In and out of institutions for 15 years, he eventually found peer support work in 2009 and entered long term recovery with the help of a handful of kind and loving people.
Ben has focused on creating affordable supported housing options for people in early recovery and other vulnerable people. Since 2011 he has opened over two dozen sober living homes, a family reunification home for men and their children, a housing first project for men, and a transitional living home for homeless youth.
Several years ago Ben started two small businesses, JC Moving and Southern Maine Fence, in order to fund housing projects and provide decent paying jobs to men in recovery.
Seeing the need for a local agency comprised of people with lived experience, Ben founded Greater Portland Peer Services in 2021 to expand affordable supported housing, integrate peers into traditional programming and develop programs designed to improve healthy outcomes.
Ben believes that people with lived experience with homelessness, incarceration, mental health challenges and drug addiction are not just uniquely qualified to provide support to those struggling with the same issues, they are the experts!