On December 16, Burton will inaugurate the SAFE Housing Network by welcoming activists from around the country to a two-day replication training session in Los Angeles; it will be the first of multiple training sessions that will continue throughout 2019 and 2020.
LOS ANGELES (December 13, 2018) — Twenty years ago, Susan Burton started A New Way of Life Reentry Project in South Los Angeles to provide safe housing and other services for formerly incarcerated women and their children. Having served six prison sentences herself, Burton recognized that women returning to society after prison needed a lot more support than they typically received. This month, Burton will launch SAFE (Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom and Equality) Housing Network, a replication model that will allow A New Way of Life to share its methods with other up-and-coming reentry housing programs throughout the country.
“Over the years, I’ve received many requests for training from other reentry programs around the US. People want to learn how we do what we do and apply it to their own projects,” Burton says. “We want to share our model as widely as we can and use our knowledge and experience to support the replication of our model in communities around the country that are impacted by mass incarceration.”
The SAFE Housing Network launches with a two-day training in Los Angeles on December 16 and 17. Attendees of the initial training represent around a dozen reentry programs, either currently operational or just getting started, in states including Washington, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, Illinois, Arkansas, and the District of Columbia. These participants will be instructed by Burton and ANWOL staff on topics including sustainability, fundraising, branding, communications, data collection, research, and outreach. The session will also include a tour of A New Way of Life’s homes in Watts and Long Beach, as well as Project Rebound, a collaboration on formerly incarcerated student housing with California State University, Fullerton.
A New Way of Life’s model is unique among reentry programs. Not only does provide the foundation for personal transformation, but it also involves formerly incarcerated women in effecting social change through advocacy and organizing, which helps the women build their self-confidence and gives many of them a renewed sense of purpose. This work includes dismantling institutional barriers that prevent formerly incarcerated people from being able to access employment, housing and occupational licensing and regain custody of their children. Additionally, the program is “survivor focused,” self-directed, and rejects a one-size-fits-all approach to re-entry. A New Way of Life has helped more than 1,000 women reenter society following prison and has reunited more than 300 children with their mothers.
The SAFE Housing Network will continue to hold periodic trainings with new cohorts of reentry program staff throughout 2019 and 2020. To learn more or to apply to participate in the training, please visit the SAFE Housing Network website.
About A New Way of Life
In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project (ANWOL) dedicated to helping women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration, including (1) providing housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community re-entry, family reunification, and individual healing; (2) working to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and (3) empowering, organizing, and mobilizing formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.
A New Way of Life envisions a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions, and is valued as a contributing member of the community. ANWOL has been a driving force in considerable policy reforms, including the ban-the-box ordinances and the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47), a historic measure to reverse decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, re-entry, and victims’ services.
About SAFE Housing Network
The SAFE (Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom and Equality) Housing Network is a project of A New Way of Life, dedicated to giving up-and-coming reentry programs around the US and the world the support, knowledge and tools they need to help women and men break free from the cycle of incarceration and find safety, healing and hope.