ACTION to develop resource center for ex-offenders
By LINDA M. LINONIS
Rosetta Carter describes Home for Good as a “one-stop center” of resources for returning citizens, that is, formerly incarcerated individuals.
Though services now exist, knowing where to look sometimes is daunting, said the executive director of Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods.
“If we had a central location, preferably downtown, it could provide information on the network of resources available,” Carter said.
ACTION received a $15,000 grant from the Youngstown Foundation to get the project off the ground. Carter said ACTION also has applied for other grants to hire a Home for Good coordinator. She also is contacting city and Mahoning County officials about a building “dedicated to this service.”
Carter said the resource-center idea came from two sources. One was a national project noted at a Gamaliel Foundation conference in Chicago she attended, and the other an experience at Dress to Succeed, a clothing ministry she founded at her church, Greater Friendship Baptist, where she is an associate minister.
“Some women who came to get clothing mentioned they or someone they knew had been in prison. They didn’t know what to do or where to go for help,” Carter said. Those comments, she said, were one of the things that motivated her to propose Home for Good as an ACTION project.
The organization of some 20 congregations works for social justice, and this project fit into that mission. ACTION will coordinate with other organizations to create the resource center. Once it is operating, ACTION’s role will be completed. ACTION will not provide any services but be the conduit to organize the center.
Carter said the resource center will help the community along with returning citizens. “If they get the help, they will be less likely to fall through the cracks and resort back to crime.” The center would refer returning citizens to sources of education, job training, housing, transportation, food, clothing and drug and alcohol counseling.
ACTION is partnering in the Home for Good project with Pastor Willie Peterson and the NewBirth Project at the Center for Community Empowerment at Rockford Activity Center, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Federal Bureau of Prisons, Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, Community Corrections Association, Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership, Oak Hill Collaborative, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative and Flying High.
For information, call the ACTION office at 330-782-7433.