A message from our CEO

Sue Bissonette

Sue Bissonette, our CEO

Throughout 2019, our focus was on supporting our programs after a few years of significant expansion. Our capacity-building efforts with GetSET came to an end in the spring of 2019, and we’ve been hard at work implementing all that we learned. This included launching a new strategic plan last fall.

Within our programs, we continued to refine our approaches to ensure that we provide the best possible care for the people we support. Each of our programs continues to achieve life-saving outcomes for people with substance use disorders. 

In September, we began offering a new hybrid model of care at Unity House. It’s been an OASAS-certified Community Residence since the program opened in 2015. However, we also began offering the new Reintegration element of OASAS residential care at the program. We’ll continue to meet current OASAS Community Residence and Reintegration regulations as we acclimate to the new element. The program’s staff are hard at work connecting residents to employment, volunteer, and educational opportunities.


people supported across the agency
of residents remained drug and alcohol free during their stay
of residents had no hospital or ER visits during their stay


Throughout last year, we put the finishing touches on our work with GetSET. Thanks to the generous support of the Tower Foundation, we spent two years learning how to build our capacity. 

All of the support we received from local foundations allowed us to implement a brand-new Strategic Plan in the fall. 

Click the button below to view our online version of our Strategic Plan. We'll be posting our first annual progress update at the end of 2020.

Stories of Recovery

Our work saves the lives of people with substance use disorders every day. While we’re doing everything we can to help the people in our care, there are countless people throughout Western New York who still need help. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t seeking the support the need.

This is because having a substance use disorder comes with some serious stigma. People are often ashamed to admit they have a problem, and people are often ashamed to talk about it.

Here at Caz Recovery, we’re committed to telling the stories of people with substance use disorders in Western New York. Like with any disease, the reality of having a substance use disorder can be scary. It’s life-threatening, and it can take years to learn how to manage.

But by shining a light on people’s journeys, we’re hoping to provide hope and healing. The people in our programs demonstrate that it’s possible to manage their diagnosis. They’re reconnecting with their families, finding jobs, going back to school, and more. Their stories demonstrate that building a better life with a substance use disorder is possible. 

Toni, a resident at Somerset House

Toni experienced some significant trauma in her past that led directly to her substance use. Thankfully, she used her time at Caz to set achievable goals for herself to help her move forward. “You build yourself up with goals,” Toni explained.

Since starting with us, she's reconnected with her kids. “I have so much hope now,” she said.

Angel, a Sundram Manor resident

Angel really enjoyed his time at Sundram Manor since the program helped him with so much. “When I need to talk, they listen,” he said. “I feel comfortable here.”

Now that he’s been free of substances, he’s got a whole new perspective. He said that he “sees life differently” when he’s not using. “When you look in the mirror, you can see yourself, and you feel good. It’s nice.”

Changing the conversation

Kayla, a resident at Madonna House

Kayla, a resident of Madonna House

Last year, we worked to change the conversation around substance use. First, we trained our staff members on the new language that's being updated throughout the field. We've been using this new language wherever we can ever since.

We also talked about how stigma can affect getting help. This language reflects the importance of recognizing a substance use disorder as a treatable medical condition. It also can provide people with hope in the face of the opioid epidemic. 

As a refresher, here are some suggestions:

  • Use "person with a substance use disorder" instead of "addict."
  • Use "substance-free" instead of "clean."
  • Use "time spent substance-free" instead of "clean time."

WHat's Next

Caz Recovery's Corporate Headquarters

COVID has changed everyone's plans, including ours. This spring, we had plans to move a few of our offices. Most of these plans have faced delays, but we're slated to finish them by the end of the summer. 

As we continue to adapt to our new reality with COVID, we're doing everything we can to keep our residents safe. We also hope to be able to expand Reintegration services to our other Community Residences and Supportive Living in the near future. Last, we’re continuing to explore new opportunities for additional expansions throughout Western New York. 

thank you

Cazenovia Recovery would not be able to save lives without the support of individuals and organizations throughout Western New York and beyond. 

Thank you to  the following organizations for providing operational funding to the agency:

  • New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)
  • New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • Erie County Department of Mental Health
  • Niagara County Department of Mental Health
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • KeyBank
  • The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
  • Departments of Social Services throughout New York State
  • Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative
  • Cazenovia Recovery Systems, Inc.

And thank you to the following organizations for providing us with capital funding:

  • New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
  • New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • Erie County Department of Mental Health
  • Niagara County Department of Mental Health
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • KeyBank
  • The Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
  • The Corporation for Supportive Housing
  • Departments of Social Services throughout New York State
  • New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation
  • nce CCazenovia Recovery Systems, Inc.

Finally, thank you to our Board of Directors: 

  • President: David H. Nelson, Esq., Attorney at Dadd and Nelson Attorney and Counselors at Law
  • Vice President: Catherine M. Braniecki, Retired
  • Treasurer: Rosemary Duran, Executive Director of Transitional Services, Inc.
  • Secretary: Sharon M. Hayes, Compliance Officer at Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
  • Member: Alfred Halley, Retired 
  • Member: Neldria Staton, Civil Engineer