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Home for ex-prisoners gets major grant for women's program

The Dean House.jpeg

Last year Gemeinschaft Home in Harrisonburg opened a house for female residents avoiding incarceration. The program just received a major federal grant to triple its capacity for those services. WMRA’s Calvin Pynn reports.

The Home’s case manager Michelle Roberts says the $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will expand the program’s four-person capacity to 12.

Michelle Roberts (courtesy of Gemeinschaft Home).jpg

ROBERTS: That's going to be a huge jump for us. And something I'm very excited about because it will offer the ability to get more women into the program, since we already have ones that are trying to get in and we just don't have the space available for them.

The grant will fund the Gemeinschaft Re-entry Opportunity for Women project – otherwise known as GROW – over the next three years, providing both residential and non-residential services for female ex-offenders in the Shenandoah Valley. Gemeinschaft worked with faculty and graduate students in JMU’s public administration program to secure the funds.

ROBERTS: And hopefully within a few months, we will have a bit more knowledge of what we'll be doing. And then hopefully by the end of summer, we'll be kicking off and being able to get more people into the house.

And that also means more case managers and others to serve their needs. Roberts credited the women at the house for a successful first year in the program.

ROBERTS: I would be most proud of the women who have really put the work in into this program, and actually gave it a chance and an opportunity to change their lives.