A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new women’s sober house/re-entry center will be held at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Unity House is located at 35 North Washington Street, Delaware, and will host a “Fill-the-House” House Warming party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday according to Matt Walls, the director of Jacob’s Way Sober Living.
Walls said the Unity House will act as a sober recovery house for women and will serve a hub for individuals who need assistance when they are released from jail.
Walls said the Unity House is a collaboration between Jacob’s Way Sober Living, Delaware County Re-Entry Coalition, Community of Grace and will support Delaware’s Stepping-up initiative, which aims to assist jail inmates who are dealing with mental illness and keep them out of jail.
Kassandra Neff, the program coordinator at the Delaware County Jail and the coordinator of the Stepping-Up initiative said the house will help connect released inmates to services and items they need to succeed after being incarcerated.
“It’s a one-stop shop for re-entry,” Neff said. “It’s a convenient location, it’s a warm, welcoming supportive setting for people coming out of jail or prison. It will get them connected to the community, to mental health and probation. It’s everyone they already work with [upon release] all on a unity front.”
Neff said the Unity House will streamline the system and make it easier to hold recently released individuals accountable.
“If we can have it all on one page we can make it a smoother process,” Neff said. “In Delaware, there used to not be anywhere to send these people.”
Neff said the Unity House will also serve as a home to five women in sober living.
“One of those women will be a ‘house mom’ and will be someone who has been through the program before,” Neff said. “The program is usually 18-24 months so this is a long-term recovery program for women coming out of hospitalization or incarceration. Being sober in jail is very different than being sober in the community.”
Neff said the ‘house mother’ will supervise the women in recovery and keep them accountable.
Neff said the house was donated by First Presbyterian Church as part of Community of Grace.
Walls said this is the third house of this kind he has started since he founded Jacob’s Way Sober living. Walls said he named the organization after his brother, Jacob, who passed away. He wanted to use his name to do something positive in the community. Walls said the other two houses are in Columbus and this house is the first for Delaware.
Walls said the Unity House is looking for monetary donations and donations of household supplies for the women in the program. Walls said the Unity House will be collecting items to fill bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms a living room, an office and a laundry room.
“I stepped away from a corporate job because I felt like this is where my heart was; helping individuals who need help to get back up,” Walls said. “I’m a believer that if you are reaching up for help there should be a hand to help you back up.”