Category Archives: Newsletters

New Housing Program

This year, FH will launch an additional housing program specifically for women who work at the Clothing Bank Creating Excellent Outcomes (CEO) Training Program and are exiting incarceration. Our Transitional Housing staff have been working hard to build this new housing program to support women like Diamond.

The program will provide housing, comprehensive case management, access to wraparound services, and a supportive, nurturing, and empowering environment. Receiving behavioral health services, attending intensive outpatient treatment programs, and fulfilling court-ordered obligations like Probation and Parole will be supported and emphasized. The program will be a precursor to our Women’s Transitional Housing Program. When the women are ready and if it’s a good fit, they can progress to our existing program to continue their pathway to self-sufficiency. FH plans to purchase an additional house specifically for this new program.

The women will remain employed at the Clothing Bank – a loving, supportive space providing flexibility with work schedules. Eventually, through our CEO Training Program, we will help them find meaningful, long-term employment. With this new housing program, we know we can provide a place Diamond and others like her can truly call home.

Diamond’s Story

Diamond came to our Clothing Bank Creating Excellent Outcomes (CEO) Training Program from Hazel D. Plant Women’s Treatment Facility’s Work Release Program in May of 2022. At 40 years of age, she has been incarcerated for more than half of her adult life. Most recently she has completed a 10-year sentence. When she started at the Clothing Bank, she expressed a desire to make a change in her life and not repeat her past mistakes. She has set goals of obtaining a full-time position and renting a place of her own. She has proven to be a hard worker, greeting everyone with a smile, and has shown a lot of potential. As we counted down the days until her release from incarceration in June, we braced ourselves for the hardship we knew she was about to face as many women before Diamond have experienced.

The four weeks since Diamond’s release have been filled with challenges. Her only option right now is to live with her family in an apartment in Wilmington, the same area that exposed her to the people, places, and things that started her cycle of incarceration. She wants to save money to get a place of her own, but right now she works two jobs simply to pay her share of the rent. She works at the Clothing Bank during the day, and at a fast-food restaurant most evenings. Diamond also has to attend Probation, TASC, and After-Care appointments. These obligations are scheduled on two different days, in three different places weekly.

After 10 years of incarceration, Diamond is learning how to use a cell phone and ‘simple’ things like setting an alarm and figuring out the bus schedule. Our staff are assisting her with applying for food stamps and Medicaid, finding a primary care doctor, and arranging mental health services. For the past 10 years, these resources were provided through her sentence. When she was released from incarceration she was given a supply of medication to address her long-term mental health condition which unfortunately ran out before she could get approved for Medicaid. She was not able to get an appointment with a primary care doctor for a month. “I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t get my mental health meds, so I eventually fell into a depression”, she says. After a week without medication, Diamond ended up in the E.R. This eventually led to admission to a mental health crisis center. She was stabilized after a few days and returned to work.

Diamond’s physical, mental, and financial well-being have all suffered. Despite her best attempts, she keeps missing days from work at the Clothing Bank. Diamond says, “The Clothing Bank staff are very patient with me and my situation. If I worked somewhere else, I probably would be fired. It’s been a rough road for me to be successful after incarceration.” She is trying very hard to keep a positive outlook, however, it’s clear she is overwhelmed and exhausted.

Diamond’s story is not unusual. The details vary from woman to woman, but the general theme remains the same: without a loving, supportive community and a stable place to live, women released from incarceration with goals and dreams to turn over a new leaf too often struggle with the re-entry process. Their past, home life, and financial barriers make this change feel impossible and their hope and drive are quickly lost.

FH is committed to filling the gaps for women like Diamond. To learn more about our plan to provide programming and additional housing for women like Diamond, please read about our New Housing Program highlight.

Creating Excellent Outcomes (CEO) Training Program

Our Clothing Bank’s Creating Excellent Outcomes (CEO) Training Program provides a wage-paying opportunity, a life skills and job training program, and a loving, supportive community for women committed to making a positive change in their lives. We employ women from our Transitional Housing Program or the Hazel D. Plant Women’s Treatment Facility Work Release Program. Our program is woman-centered at its core, with a focus on the unique needs, concerns, and lived experiences of the participants. Women can stay in our program for as long as they need; the average is about 4-5 months. The goal of the program is for the women to find meaningful, long-term employment that will allow them to remain self-sufficient.

The women in our program from the Hazel D. Plant Women’s Treatment Facility often transition from Baylor Women’s Correctional Institute; these facilities are on the same campus and the Work Release is the final stage of their sentence. The Work Release places women in our CEO program and they remain in our program during their release from incarceration. There are mountains of obstacles and barriers that often make the transition after release very challenging.

Please read Diamond’s story for one woman’s experience after incarceration and our New Housing Program highlight to learn more about our plan to further help women like Diamond.

2022 Highmark Walk

We’re so excited to announce we had yet another successful Highmark Walk this year! Because of your loving support, FH raised over $75,000 through this fundraiser.

We joined for the first time in 3 years for the in-person Highmark 5k Walk for a Healthy Community on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Walkers gathered at Tubman Garret park Saturday, June 11, 2022, despite the chance of rain to support our mission of uniting people facing homelessness with loving, supportive communities they can call home. Thank you Highmark for putting on an incredible event!

We are so proud to announce FH was the top fundraiser for the 3rd year in a row of all 250 non-profit organizations that participate in the Highmark Walk across 7 cities.

FH had over 500 registered walkers with about half showing up for the in-person walk. We posed for pictures, greeted each other with warm smiles, and walked together! YouDee (University of Delaware’s mascot) and Rocky Bluewinkle (Wilmington Blue Rock’s mascot) were there for photo opportunities. Virtual walkers sent in pictures who lived out of state or were traveling for the weekend.

Thank you to the 22 local faith communities who formed an FH walk team or made a financial contribution. Thank you to our corporate sponsors. Our silver and gold sponsors are featured on the back of this newsletter.

Thank you to everyone who walked or made a financial contribution to the 2022 Highmark Walk! Again, we couldn’t do this without you! Because of you, someone who’s feeling lost, alone, and scared will wake up tomorrow feeling hope they can find a way home. You have become the loving supportive community people experiencing homelessness and houselessness in Delaware need. Thank you!

Click here to upload your photos to our 2022 Highmark Walk Photo Album!

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