In a time when the words "financial crisis" is still a common household phrase, and though they say the economy is improving, donations and charities are still closing their doors. Shelters across the country are having to cut costs and turn people away due to the drastic cut in donations. Kathy's House is no exception and has had to make some dramatic changes to stay afloat. But not only are the doors still open, there is a waiting list just to be interviewed.
Kathy's House, in San Jaun Capistrano, California, is a transitional house for women recovering from any form of addiction, spousal abuse, hiding from gangs pimps or anything else you can imagine. If the women have children they are welcome as well. They provide a six month program that counsels and teaches the women to "learn how to live," as one resident put it. Admission is not guaranteed, in fact most are turned away. Once accepted into the program the rules are very simple but strict. Curfew, drug and alcohol tests, if your hiding from someone don't tell anyone where you are staying, break the rules and you're out. There is even a minimum sober period required before an interview will take place.
In return the women all receive room and board, counseling and education, many have earned the GED's or like programs. Plus help finding consistent employment and transportation to and from work, school, and church. A big part of the program is teaching the women how to go about the basic tasks that people do every day, but somehow they missed. Simple things such as filing taxes and paying bills can be daunting when done for the first time, especially to someone who has been addicted to drugs for 18 of her 30 years.
Josie is one of Kathy's Houses tougher cases, yet still a success story. She started drinking and using harder drugs at the age of 10. By the time she was 12 she was completely addicted, in and out of jail, and living on the streets. At one point she was the leader of a white supremacist gang, and the list goes on. At this point Josie has been sober for over a year, going to church, and helps run the day-to-day around Kathy's House. She loves to sing and has known a few hymns since she was a little girl. A few months ago Josie was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy which has left a portion of her face paralyzed making singing difficult. After a few minutes of trying to get through the Hymn she breaks down, "God didn't bring me through so much to live like this." Josie is receiving weekly acupuncture and all medical care for free as a part of the program at Kathy's House. For the first time in her life, Josie has worked at a job long enough to receive her first W2, and albeit she was nervous about it, she let the folks at H&R Block help her navigate her first tax filing.
Since the program is only six months the house is in a constant state of change. But the program remains the same and the difference between a girl coming in the door on day one, when compared to the woman leaving at the end speaks volumes for the people willing to put their time and money on the line to help give someone a chance.
For more information please visit www.kathyshousesjc.org