Dallas Community Foundation Newsletter highlights the Titus 3 House!
Giving Women a New Start and a Second Chance For the women at Titus 3 House, it isn’t just a place to stay, it’s a home. It’s also an opportunity for a new start and a second chance.
When Jane (not her real name) came out of prison, she had no possessions beyond a small backpack. She had undergone drug rehab in prison, but could not return to the community of friends that had sent her life into a downward spiral of drug addiction. She needed a fresh start, an opportunity to pick up the pieces and build a future for herself. She was fortunate to have a place at Titus 3 House in Dallas. “It’s really a great place to get your bearings,” she explains. “It’s comforting to come here because it’s like a home.”
P.J. Johnson established Titus 3 in 2010, filling an unmet gap for
transitional housing for women in the community. These women may come
from prison or jail, or are referred by the Department of Human Services
because of drug addiction. Unlike other shelters which typically allow
women to stay 30 days, women can stay at Titus 3 House for up to a year.
According to Johnson, the longer timeframe is significant, because it
allows the women to get established in a safe and secure environment. They can get the drug treatment they need, pursue education, employment and find stable housing. “I am such a believer in second chances,” she says. Starting with nothing – no basic toiletries, no money, just the clothes on your back – it is no simple task to lift oneself up. The typical food stamp allocation these women receive is $189 a month. They may owe fines.
They have to pay for transportation to and from appointments, school and employment. The financial realities mean these women must find gainful employment in a relatively short time frame. Their choices may be limited by lack of education or training, having a felony on their record, and proximity or availability of transportation. It’s an uphill battle. But thanks to the Titus 3 program, they have a home, a solid base from which to start. Until they have resources to pay the $300 monthly “bed fee”, their portion of rent, it is covered by several local sources such as the Department of Human Services, Dallas Ministerial Association and community churches.
Though each woman is responsible for her own food preparation, the women live communally, sharing house duties. Often they work together on meals. The house is kept meticulously clean, both inside and out. Everyone at the house maintains a structured schedule. Following breakfast each day, they write out their daily plan, a skill that will help them stay focused and task-oriented as they transition back into the community. A house manager lives onsite, ensuring curfew and other house rules are being followed. The bed fees only cover half the cost to operate the house. The balance comes from fundraising, donations from the community and the support of local churches. One of the organization’s big needs was the replacement of worn, old, and very tired mattresses. With a Dallas Community Foundation grant, five new mattresses have been purchased. Johnson explains, “You have no idea what a blessing the grant was. All of the mattresses were
second-hand when we got them five years ago. The girls were constantly telling me how they couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. ‘It’s so lumpy!’ they would say. I prayed for those mattresses...and the DCF grant came.” Since her release and time spent at Titus 3, Jane has a new lease on life. She is away from her previous social group, and is rebuilding the trust and relationship with her family, something that was lost when she turned to drugs. She is near the end of her drug treatment program and proudly states she has been drug-free for 18 months. She has a local job and pays her own bed fee at the house. She will study horticulture this fall at Chemeketa Community College. The house garden has been a great outlet for her to pursue her love of plants, gardening, and fresh produce. DCF is pleased to support Titus 3, assisting women like Jane successfully transition to productive, responsible,drug-free and law-abiding members of the community.