SAFE House Replication Model
Since 2018, the SAFE Housing Network has provided a model and framework for supporting formerly incarcerated individuals nationwide.
Individuals Provided Housing
Individuals Provided Reentry Services
Parents Reunited with their Chidlren
Since founding A New Way of Life in 1998, I have worked tirelessly to give formerly incarcerated women the opportunity to create new lives for themselves and their children. A New Way of Life provides women with safe housing, assists with re-establishing community connections and creates an environment that allows them to heal from trauma. This enables women to connect with dreams and aspirations of the past while working toward a better future.
In 2017 and 2018, I visited 64 prisons and jails in 26 states and three countries, and I realized that most of the women I met would not have access to a place like A New Way of Life after release. Because of my own prison experiences, it became clear to me long ago that if women had safe homes to live in after incarceration, they would have a chance to make a better life for themselves. But A New Way of Life can’t serve the thousands of formerly incarcerated women who need help. Thus, SAFE Housing Network was born.
We welcome you to join us as we work to help women, families and our communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration.
Susan Burton, founder of SAFE Housing Network and A New Way of Life
The SAFE Housing Network model was designed for women in reentry by women who have been through reentry themselves.
At A New Way of Life, we give formerly incarcerated women the support, the stability, and the opportunities they need to transform their lives for themselves. Our model is about more than just housing. We offer wraparound support services that are flexible enough to meet the unique needs of every woman, including legal help, mental health treatment, parenting and life skills instruction, substance misuse training, employment assistance, and everything in between.
But very early in our history, we realized that it wasn’t enough to help individuals change their lives: we also had to tear down the institutional barriers that prevent formerly incarcerated people from accessing housing, education and jobs. That’s why, in addition to helping women get back on their feet, we work with them to develop leadership and advocacy skills so that they in turn can help their formerly incarcerated sisters.
Most reentry programs are built for cisgender men and don’t take into account the complex demands facing women, trans, and non-binary individuals fresh out of prison: maintaining sobriety, keeping up with the punitive terms of correctional supervision, and searching for housing and employment, while repairing relationships and navigating the challenges surrounding family reunification and the child welfare system. Nor do these programs consider the root causes of their incarceration: overwhelmingly, justice-involved women, trans, and non-binary individuals were victims first, the vast majority having suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse at some point during their lives.
As the number of women, trans, and non-binary in prison swells — women are the fastest-growing population in the US — it is vital to have gender-sensitive housing and services in place for them when they come home. SAFE works to ensure that formerly incarcerated women, trans, and nonbinary individuals around the world have access to programs that are tailor-made for them and will give them the opportunity to succeed.
Every individual is worthy. Our model provides a rare solace to formerly incarcerated people by recognizing, understanding, and embracing the reality of their lives.
We are all deserving of respect. Those who live in our homes are taught a new way of living that builds self-respect, encourages mutual respect and conquers low self-esteem.
Personal transformation and systemic change go hand-in-hand. We provide opportunities for advocacy and organizing, empowering women to transform through engagement.