Women in our community become homeless for a variety of reasons, and thankfully, Perpetual Help Home, a faith-based nonprofit, is here to help them.

Perpetual Help Home offers transitional housing for women in need of a safe place to do the difficult work of getting back on their feet. The home was started in 1995 as a ministry for women released from jail or prison. In 1997, the first small home was purchased for residential services. In 2002, the current 17-bedroom house was purchased in Victoria to assist women and children.

While some of the women arrive at the home with an income or small disability check, it’s typically not enough to cover their bills. The home lifts the resident’s burden of trying to keep a roof overhead while helping her pay off her debts. Others are unemployed and need help finding a job.

Some of the women are grappling with domestic abuse situations, or they are working with Child Protective Services to better their situations in order to regain custody of their children. Others come to the home straight from jail or prison, or from a rehabilitation center.

Many of the women who enter the home struggle with two big hurdles. In 2020, 72% were dealing with substance-use disorders while 44% were dealing with mental health challenges. Some, 39%, dealt with both issues. The home helps the women connect with the resources they need to overcome their difficulties and continuously move forward.

One of the important aspects of the home is that it offers the women a hand up for the long-term. They receive help to address their immediate issues, but they also learn the skills and habits they need to leave the home and live independently.

To live in the home, the women must agree to work full time or go to school full time, or some combination of the two. Each of them is assigned a night to cook for those living in the home as well as a chore to complete for the week.

The home helps the women manage their money. They save 50% of their income; they pay the home 15% for rent; they tithe 10% to the church of their choice; and they keep 25% for personal use.

In 2020, the home housed 54 women and 16 children, providing 4,305 nights of safe lodging. Twenty residents left within two weeks of their arrival, but the other 34 stayed an average of four months. All of those who stayed longer than two weeks completed job training, and 85% of them secured employment. Five of them purchased vehicles, two attended college and three worked toward a GED/diploma.

In 2020, the residents earned $107,894, and they saved $39,753. They tithed $10,063 to the churches of their choice. The average departing resident left with $1,251 in savings, and the average current resident has $1,529 in savings.

Perpetual Help Home provides women with the assistance they need to rebound from difficulties and build their futures.

We are fortunate to have a home that helps turn around the lives of so many women in our community, and it needs and deserves our continued support.

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This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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