Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hillsborough House of Hope

In Seminole Heights on west Curtis Street is a residential program called Hillsborough House of Hope, helping formerly incarcerated women turn their lives around. House of Hope was founded 4 years ago by then 77 year old Margaret Palmer. (Never too late to realize a dream) The Times had a write up in 2003 and the Trib had one today. Assistant Chief Jane Castor is on the board of directors.

"Palmer wanted something better for the women and began planning for it in 1998. She formulated the idea of having a big house with about 10 women, but Cal Henderson, then Hillsborough County sheriff, advised her differently.

He told her to take three women at a time and "pour everything you have in them," Palmer recalled."

. . . ."The nonprofit program will celebrate its four-year anniversary Jan. 7. Nearly 40 women have been through the program; about 25 have successfully finished, a high number, Palmer said, for a rehabilitative program."

. . ."A house manager lives with the three women in the bluish-gray house, which was purchased for $112,000. Each woman gets her own room and computer and is responsible for buying groceries and cooking her own meals.

Most women stay at the house about six months. The majority who enter Hillsborough House of Hope have been arrested for drug possession, drug paraphernalia or petty theft, said Linda Walker, the program's manager, who has successfully fought a crack addiction."

. . ."The program partners with about a dozen organizations, so the women can get substance abuse treatment five days a week, obtain health care and find work, among other things.

After they get a job, the women contribute 30 percent of their paychecks toward rent. Usually, Walker said, it's not much - $30 to $60 - but it helps teach the women responsibility and how to budget.

Ten percent of the check goes into a savings account. The program has a partnership with two credit unions. In six months, the women can save $600 to $1,000, Walker said.

The women also are required to have a sponsor and attend either Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous regularly.

It isn't all work, though. They go to the movies, make arts and crafts, and have a weekly roommate dinner."

If you want to help out call 813 231-5122 or donate online.

If only Clifford Hills had operated in such a fashion.

1 comment:

Seminole sugar said...

It is a dream of mine to work and help these sort of women.

I was in jail once for an unpaid ticket ...lol In Mn..and they have alot of programs like this.
The state has funds for this sort of program ..Florida I somehow doubt the funds are there.

Is this place looking for help?