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Press release from Homeward Bound of Asheville, shared March 5:
On Feb. 1, Homeward Bound of Asheville, a local homeless services organization, assumed responsibility for Women at Risk, formerly a program of Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice. Many Homeward Bound clients already access services through Women at Risk, a program that provides clinical support to women facing incarceration.
“We began to explore transitions in response to severe funding cuts that threatened the Women at Risk program,” said Lisa Gaye Hall, WCCJ board chair. “We knew it would be a great loss to some of the neediest women in our community and to the taxpayers if this program were to disappear. We are pleased that Homeward Bound has agreed to take ownership of the program and further the work of restorative justice.”
Women at Risk began with community-based therapy groups in 1988. Over time, it developed a trademarked, proven model with a long history of success in cost savings in providing treatment and intervention for women facing prison time. The cost of incarcerating one person in North Carolina is $75 per day (over $27,000 per year), and most Women at Risk clients face at least six months in prison when they enter the program. Core program services include group therapy, case management and court advocacy. Participants must complete all of their court requirements, including probation, and make the changes necessary to permanently exit the criminal justice system.
More than half of Women at Risk’s clients are homeless or tenuously housed, making the program a strong addition to Homeward Bound’s already successful work in ending homelessness. Brian Alexander, executive director of Homeward Bound, said: “Women at Risk has been a great program for our clients over the years. We’re excited to add their excellent staff to our team and to create new avenues for our programs to work together to keep women out of prison and out of homelessness.”
Under Homeward Bound’s management, Women at Risk will continue to serve current program clients and new state-referred clients without interruption. Homeward Bound will also assume ownership of WCCJ’s facility, the historic Minnie Alexander Cottage at 218 Patton Ave., designed by noted architect Richard Sharp Smith.
Homeward Bound of Asheville, Inc. is a local nonprofit working to end homelessness in Asheville and Buncombe County through its six programs: the A HOPE Day Center; PATH; Room in the Inn; Women at Risk; HOPE to HOME; and Pathways to Permanent Housing. Each program is designed to lead the clients it serves out of homelessness and into permanent housing and to provide the relational and practical support they need to stabilize once housed. Since 2006, Homeward Bound has facilitated supportive housing for 482 people, 89% of whom remain stably housed. To learn more about Homeward Bound, visit www.hbofa.org.