Earlier this week, Natalie, a graduate of Homestead, moved into our home, officially making us a “Homestead Plus” site. Homestead Plus are homes that are open to graduates wanting a next step or Homestead participants who have children.
We currently have five Homestead Plus homes , two currently house Homestead graduates.
I have known Natalie since 2017 when she first came through the Homestead program. Natalie came to Homestead from juvenile detention. She completed the program quickly, graduated, and returned to her home town. Within weeks, Natalie had relapsed and returned to her lifestyle of drugs and crime. Shortly after, Natalie was arrested and completed two and a half years at Topeka State Correctional Facility. I kept in touch with Natalie while there and visited her several times.
Natalie struggled while in prison and eventually was accepted into a trauma recovery program where she faced her demons and won. Natalie returned to Homestead changed and completed the program with determination.
My husband and I talked through all the possible concerns and made the decision to welcome Natalie into our home. Natalie is a bright, happy young woman. She works and has transportation and plans to attend college in the fall. She is helpful and appreciative and fits in well with us. We provide a bit more structure and accountability that Natalie desires before moving out on her own. Our commitment is for up to six months.
My Mom provides a second Homestead Plus site to Erica. My Mom, 90, lives alone. She has a huge basement with two bedrooms, a carpeted living room, and two store rooms. Erica, a graduate of Homestead, stepped into the House Manager position. She works at the Homestead every other week, 24/7. On her off weeks, she stays with my Mom rent free. She checks on her and does small tasks as needed to help Mom out. Mom feels safer when Erica is there.
We’ve had a number of single women, couples, and families become Homestead Plus sites. Women who have custody of their children can live in Homestead plus sites and participate fully in the program. Graduates can move one step closer to full independence, some taking extra time to save money, some wanting continued support and/or accountability. Whatever the reason, all Homestead Plus parties, receivers and givers are blessed. We are delighted to have Natalie with us.