WEST CHESTER, PA — A program that helps women impacted by incarceration reenter their communities with housing and other support services will receive $100,0000 in state funding, state Senator Carolyn Comitta said.
The funding, recently approved by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), will support the Friends Association’s NIA House Program, which provides holistic re-entry services and transitional and long-term housing options to women impacted by incarceration.
“Women and their families face unique challenges upon returning to their communities after incarceration,” Comitta said. “This investment will not only pay dividends in reducing recidivism and preventing homelessness, but it will also have an invaluable impact by assisting them on the pathway to long-term healing, empowerment, and economic success. I want to thank the Friends Association for being a leader in implementing this and other forward-thinking programs over its 200-year history.”
The NIA House Program provides a variety of services targeted to address the key factors impacting successful reentry including economic empowerment, long-term housing, trauma-informed support services, peer support, therapeutic experiences, and family reunification.
“We are grateful for Senator Comitta’s support in securing this grant through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency,” said Jennifer Lopez, Executive Director of Friends Association. “This grant will not only impact the women who arrive at NIA House, it will also produce a positive ripple effect on their families, local communities, and Chester County’s workforce and economy that is nearly impossible to measure.” ]
The Friends Association is one of 21 recipients statewide to receive $2 million in total funding through PCCD’s Women’s Reentry Services Initiatives Grants program. The program was first announced in September to help fund non-profit organizations to provide holistic reentry support services to prevent recidivism.
“By aiming resources at addressing the dynamic risk factors associated with reincarceration, this initiative will help begin the healing process,” PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington said. “Reducing recidivism can help stabilize not only the women directly impacted but their families as well. This could result in less crime and victimization overall, which leads to safer communities.”
Eligible program activities and expenses for the $2 million grant program included, but were not limited to, supportive housing; workforce development services and employment assistance; job readiness support services; access to childcare; transportation assistance; access to effective treatment for healthcare, substance use disorder, mental health, and trauma; access to identification documents essential to obtaining employment, housing, and other government assistance such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and social security cards; peer supports and mentoring; and family reunification services.
Recently, Comitta also secured $50,000 in state funding for important renovations and upgrades to the Friends Association’s emergency shelter.
For more information on the Friends Association and the NIA House Program, visit www.friendsassoc.org