Women Have a New Place to Call Home
Gemeinschaft Home has found a house in downtown Harrisonburg to launch a new residential program
for local women.
With enough money raised so far in the 2020 Vision for the Future Campaign, along with partnerships with local public agencies, Gemeinschaft Home settled this month on a location to establish a residential program for women in Harrisonburg. Until now, there have been no residential services available to women under community supervision or probation in the local area, such as the men’s re-entry program already offered at Gemeinschaft Home, and the new program provides a location to fill that critical need in the community.
The brick, two-story (with wrap-around porch) home, also known as “Dean House,” is located at 110 Old South High Street, on the corner of W. Water Street. The property is currently owned by Community Mennonite Church, who has come to an agreement with Gemeinschaft Home to establish the program in the house, located just across the road from the church. The large, early-twentieth century house features spacious rooms, two kitchens, and several bathrooms, offering both living and office spaces that include ample room for group meetings and activities.
The residential program will offer an alternative to incarceration for women in the local community who have been charged with and/or convicted of nonviolent offenses and are facing housing instability or are homeless. Program participants will be referred from the local Court Services Unit, Drug Treatment Court Program, and Joint Mental Health Collaboration, as well as from Gemeinschaft Home’s existing day reporting center program for women.
Up to four adult women will reside in the house for a minimum of 90 days and will receive full-time access to room and board, including meals and related resources. Participants will share household chores and cooking responsibilities. The minimum 90-days will require participants to complete a cognitive-behavioral life-recovery curriculum that covers a wide range of topics in a group setting, from parenting education, to living with addiction, interpersonal communication, and anger management.
All participants will also work one-on-one with a case manager to develop goals, determine a home plan, and address issues on an individual basis. They will make referrals for participants who need outside resources such as licensed counseling, health care providers, peer support specialists, and community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Individuals will have access to employment advice, vocational training opportunities, and help with finding a nearby job. All participants will be subject to random drug and alcohol screens.
Gemeinschaft Home hopes to welcome the first residents by early February 2021, after some initial preparation takes place in the house through January, which includes hiring essential staff, painting walls, and procuring household furniture and other necessary items. We will share more updates about the progress of the new residential program for women in the new year!
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