Uncertain Future for Gemeinschaft Home

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

One of the departments that saw significant cuts in Gov. Tim Kaine's plan this week was the Department of Corrections.

The cuts have put Harrisonburg's Gemeinschaft Home in jeopardy. It's a home for non-violent offenders to receive addiction counseling and to help them transition back into society.

The home's executive director, Jennie Amison, says they have 60 days to either find new funding or they'll have to close. The non-profit gets the vast majority of its funding from the state, which sends people to the home from correctional facilities.

At Gemeinschaft Home Friday, Max Jenkins celebrated his graduation. He just completed six months at the home.

"I owe the community a lot that I took away," says Jenkins.

He spent 17 months in prison for selling drugs before coming to the home to receive addiction counseling.

However, because the future in unclear, the home is having to consider new options. Amison says they'll have to downsize. They won't be able to take in any more people for now, and she's unsure if they'll be able to continue treating the people that are already in the home.

"This place is my life, my passion, my ministry," says Amison. "It's what I'm driven to do and what God kept me to do. And, I think that's why we're so good at it."

Some people arrived at the home two weeks ago. Amison says it's important that the people who are getting treatment complete it. Otherwise the purpose of the transitional program would be defeated.

"Anybody who comes here has a chance to become renewed," says Jenkins.

Amison says she'll start appealing to the community for support. The board is also looking at funding options from the federal government.

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