Housing program for nonviolent male offenders celebrates 10 years

By Mikala McCurry

Montgomery, AL- Renascence Inc., a nationwide housing program for nonviolent male offenders, is celebrating 10 years of service. Renascence Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded by Douglas Porter in 2006 with the mission to assist men recently released on probation or parole to successfully reintegrate into society.

According to House Manager Dereck Wire, the Renascence Inc. program has improved immensely over the past 10 years. The success rate of the program has increased from 50% to 70%. “70% of our house members don’t return; this is what we want, unless they’re visiting.” The program has also seen an increase in volunteers and applications. Because of the influx of applications, the maximum number of house members has increased from 12 to 14.

Renascence Inc. receives 3-5 applications a day from inmates all over the United States. House members are chosen through a very selective process by Wire and Ty Pelham, the Executive Director of Renascence Inc. “Recovery is a way of life, and we have to separate the ones that want it from the ones that don’t.”

Once selected, every house member must commit to 6 months-1 year of the program. During their time in the house, members are under 24 hour supervision and are expected to attend house meetings, perform housework, and pay rent once they gain employment. They are also given access to mental health services such as counseling, AA and NA meetings, and holistic healing. These programs teach house members how to be responsible, independent, and overcome negative habits.

Jeremy Hughes, a Renascence Inc. house member, shares his experience in this program. Hughes heard about the program from Wire, who frequently visits the facilities. After serving a 16 year sentence, Hughes comments that it was very hard to readjust to life. “All they give us when we get out is $10, a bus ticket, and the clothes you came in with. Family tries to help, but they aren’t prepared to help you reintegrate into society, and you feel like a burden. This program helped me to get an I.D. and a full-time and part-time job. Being here is satisfying because it’s helping me to learn how to be a man again.”

As for future expansion, Renascence Inc. desires to open more homes, implement more programs, and start a women’s program. They are also seeking more volunteers and counselors.

To volunteer, donate, or learn more about Renascence Inc., visit www.halfway-home.net .

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