Operation Restoration Celebrates Official Grand Opening of Hope House NOLA

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Pictured (L to R): Katie Rigsby, Realtor; Wendi Cooper, TRANScending Women; Topeka K. Sam, Ladies of Hope Ministries; and Dolfinette Martin, Operation Restoration

NEW ORLEANS – Operation Restoration, a New Orleans-based nonprofit focused on empowering women impacted by incarceration to successfully reenter the community, recently partnered with the Ladies of Hope Ministries to open Hope House NOLA, a co-living space designed to provide a safe place for women and girls to transform their lives and heal from trauma post-incarceration.

“Early on we recognized that housing needed to be a major focus of our organization,” said Operation Restoration’s Founder and Executive Director Syrita Steib. “While responding to a critical need in our community, we wanted to build on the success of Hope House in New York to provide a stable living environment for women in New Orleans while they work on other priorities like education, employment, childcare, family unification, etc. None of these things can happen if you don’t have a safe place to live.”

The goal is to transition house guests into safe and permanent housing within one year while retaining a connection to Operation Restoration for support and ongoing personal development. Hope House NOLA includes live-in support in a homelike setting with light-filled bedrooms, a large gathering area, a communal kitchen and a swimming pool.

“We developed the Hope House model with human services professionals and women and girls who are currently or formerly incarcerated to address their core needs,” said LOHM Founder and Executive Director Topeka K. Sam. “We’re so proud to partner with an impactful local nonprofit like Operation Restoration to provide case management and other direct services within the home.”

The Rewriting Reentry virtual panel that took place on Thursday, Aug. 27 marked the official grand opening of Hope House NOLA. In coordination with the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the virtual program addressed the impact of natural disasters and incarceration on housing security as well as the complexities of reentry and featured speakers from Operation Restoration, LOHMAnti-Recidivism CoalitionUrban LeisureLouisiana Fair Housing Action Center and JP Morgan Chase.

“When you realize that individuals released from prison are 10 times more likely to become homeless, and the unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people is nearly ​five times higher​ than the general United States population, it drives home the importance of the work that we’re doing,” said Operation Restoration’s Housing Director Dolfinette Martin.

Operation Restoration, founded in 2016, focuses primarily on education, employment, housing and providing services that cover other basic needs for formerly incarcerated women and girls, while also advocating for policy change on a state and federal level. Hope House NOLA is a program of Operation Housing, an innovative initiative that creates housing opportunities and connects formerly incarcerated and legal system-involved women with housing resources.

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