Director of new sober-living facility wants it to be real home

Robert Knorr is the director of Harmony Home, a new facility in Huntington for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Knorr hopes to open the facility, located at 751 E. Tipton St., this spring.
Robert Knorr is the director of Harmony Home, a new facility in Huntington for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Knorr hopes to open the facility, located at 751 E. Tipton St., this spring. Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Jan. 1, 2018.

When Robert Knorr was brainstorming names for the sober-living facility he wanted to open up in Huntington, he took a liking to the name “Harmony House.”

After doing some digging, though, he found out that name was already being used by a facility elsewhere in the country. So, he decided to change the name, ever so slightly, to “Harmony Home.”

He’s glad he did.

“Really, ‘home’ is what I want it to be,” reflects Knorr. “I don’t want it to be a house. The house is a structure.

“A home is where you actually live.”

Knorr is the director of Harmony Home, a residence where adult male addicts of drugs and alcohol can rehabilitate. He started thinking about opening the facility a few years ago, in the wake of his son’s friend overdosing.

“He had just been at my house for Christmas,” recalls Knorr. “His family was off in some other place and I had got him some gifts and he actually cried because he hadn’t had gifts in so long.”

Less than a month later, he was gone – his life snuffed out by heroin.

It wasn’t until Knorr started working at Johnny’s Drive-In that he began making strides toward opening the rehabilitation facility that he had conceived. Local movers and shakers ate at the venerable Huntington diner on a daily basis. Knorr resolved that it was time to start talking to them.

“I have all these contacts,” he says. “Why not use them?”

One of those contacts was Greg Davis, brother of Johnny’s proprietor Monte Davis. Knorr expressed to Greg Davis that he was interested in finding a house that could serve as the location for Harmony Home. So, last January, Davis took Knorr to a rental property he owned, at 751 E. Tipton St. A large dwelling, big enough to house a dozen or so men, Knorr was taken with the property.

And his level of enthusiasm soared even higher upon learning how the property was zoned.

“So, I checked to see if it was zoned correctly – and I got lucky,” says Knorr. “It was already zoned. It was zoned for a boarding house, actually, back in the day. So, they said that it would fall underneath the same thing.”

While the process of making Harmony Home a reality started out as a solo endeavor for Knorr, in time, he brought more people into the fold. Luann Graf is one of those individuals. Knorr says his Graf's constant ribbing about his financial acumen led him to bring her into the fold as Harmony Home’s chief financial officer.

“She used to joke with me that if it failed it would be because of my organization with finances,” says Knorr with a smile.
Graf, he notes, worked in the finance department of an insurance agency for years.

Also on the Harmony Home team is Damika Webb, says Knorr. She serves as the home’s assistant director. Together, Knorr, Webb and Graf oversee Harmony Home, meeting every other week to discuss the facility’s progress toward opening.
In addition to his Harmony Home colleagues, Knorr is grateful for the people in Huntington who have given him advice and encouragement over the last year. Sharon Metzger, the director of Place of Grace, is one of those people, he says. As the head of an organization that strives to help women get their lives on the right track after leaving jail, Knorr says Metzger has faced many of the same challenges he has and assisted him in overcoming them.

Relationships that Knorr has been mindful to cultivate during this process have been with Huntington County’s Community Corrections and Probation departments, plus the Bowen Center and Recovery Works. Each of those entities, he says, will be an important partner in identifying individuals who would be good candidates for Harmony Home’s program.

That program, says Knorr, has 12 steps, with residencies at the home ranging anywhere from six to 18 months.

“They have to get a sponsor,” says Knorr of residents. “They have to work the steps. They have to go to meetings. They have to get a job. There’s a curfew.

“So, it’s structured living, trying to get them back on their feet, so they’re not just doing it by themselves.”

Before Harmony Home admits its first residents, Knorr is working to raise funds for the facility to ensure it’s on firm financial ground. To that end, he’s held fund-raisers, with more planned, and welcomed contributions to the facility’s PayPal account, PayPal.me/HarmonyHomeLLC.

Tentatively, Knorr is targeting March or April as the month of Harmony Home’s opening. More than anything, he’s looking forward to interacting with residents. As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for nearly three years, he knows he’ll be able to relate to the struggles of the men who cross Harmony Home’s door.

“With AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), it’s like, we’re helping each other,” he says. “Because if you’re not a recovering alcoholic or an addict, you don’t understand where we’re coming from.”

To learn more about Harmony Home, Knorr invites people to contact him at 355-9400 or at HuntingtonHarmonyHome@gmail.com.

“I believe I’m doing this for a reason,” he says. “I believe that God has put me on this path.”