KOKOMO, Ind- The Gilead House in Kokomo has been helping formerly incarcerated women back on their feet for years. However, that mission could be in jeopardy.
The nonprofit needs $130,000 to get their current building up to code. If that goal isn’t met in a matter of months, they’ll be forced to close.
“If it wasn’t for these ladies, Miss Reba and the other staff here, I wouldn’t be alive right now,” one woman living in the home said.
“I just think it’s really important that the community realizes that we’re mothers,” another woman said. “We need to be back raising our children, and without this place and Miss Reba, some of us may never make it there.”
With 24 hour care and ten employees, Gilead House covers all needs and expenses for women just out of jail. Many are recovering from addiction, and the trauma that led them there.
“There’s always something, there’s always some reason people turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings,” said resident Shanon Lusher.
Lusher and 26 other women stay in cubicles set up in a former gym. There they sleep, pray, and make a promise to themselves.
“I’m not getting in trouble anymore,” Lusher said. “I’m actually turning my life around and I feel this time it’s going to stick. It’s going to be a permanent turnaround.”
The women get to stay at Gilead House for around 6 months, but without a new sprinkler system to stay up to fire code, it could be closed in 3.
“These are someone’s daughters, someone’s children, someone’s mothers,” said Founder and Executive Director Reba Harris. “These are very important people no matter what society says about them.”
For Harris, these women have become like family, and for her giving up on family is not an option.
“I couldn’t do that,” Harris said about shutting down. “Just can’t do it, I just couldn’t do that.”
The only other option is to raise the money for upgrades. Not just for the women here, but for other women still behind bars and waiting to tell their story.
“Were not the only ones, there’s lots of us out there who need the help,” said one of the women. “Miss Reba is so wonderful to open up this place so we have a safe haven to come to to get better.”
The Gilead House needs to raise the money by February. If you are interested in donating or helping out, you can contact them at 765-865-9427.
You can find more information about Gilead House by visiting their website HERE