The Dream Becomes a Reality
On August 23, 2022, The Grand Re-opening of Retraining the Village in East Palo Alto, CA was the current culmination of a dream that has come to fruition. Many people from challenging backgrounds are the beneficiaries of this dream.
Have you ever envisioned something and felt ‘yes, that’s what I really want to do.?’ Then, like most people you went back to sleep or gave up before you started.
Not so for Halley Crumb. She KNEW what she wanted for what has become Retraining the Village. She thought about all the obstacles and took action– often living through the loneliness and financial challenges of moving forward.
What was Halley Crumb’s vision?
A place to house people coming out of incarceration along with veterans who had been homeless so they could have a stable, supportive environment while rebuilding their lives so as to contribute to society. A place that could help with food, housing and education along with finding jobs.
There are now two homes in East Palo Alto and a third in Madera, which also includes facilities for women and a ‘shelter with pets’ component.
San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Canepa attended the event and was inspired by what he heard from those that Retraining The Village has helped. He said, “We all have stories. Life is like a ladder journey. We’re all in this together and have to trust each other. Halley is with you to help you get to your destination.” He also spoke about the importance of civic engagement and the upcoming elections.
Stories from those impacted
One of the stories shared, came from Jerry, a carpenter who is taking additional construction classes at JobTrain. When Jerry arrived five weeks ago, Halley mentioned she really needed a new floor in one of the homes. Jerry has already constructed and installed that new floor.
Arthur, a recovering addict who had been homeless, called shelters during the Pandemic and everyone he called said they were not taking in new people. He managed to find Halley’s information, called her and she took him in. He is already attending City College of San Francisco with the desire to become an addiction counselor.
Rosa, a young lady with three children, was facing a potential jail sentence. However, a reentry program trusted Halley to take her on and she is doing well in the recovery process. It helps that there is now a second lady who has two children to connect with.
Cookie, a plumber, carpenter and electrician says, “I’m taking classes for now, and doing odd jobs. I really want to give back to the community.”
Others include a veteran and a gentleman recently released from San Quentin via the Reentry Program. Mondo from San Quentin has now been sober overall for 17 months. He says, “Halley is for real. I came here to change my life and she has helped a lot.”
It Takes a Village
Halley works with State agencies and prison reentry programs to help place people in her homes. She has met with the Mayor of San Francisco and has upcoming sessions with the County of San Mateo.
The financial challenges of paying the rent and other bills are daunting. Many personnel take classes at JobTrain. Bed Bath and Beyond has been generous is providing linens, and Home Depot has hired a number of the residents.
The neighbors were kind enough to trim one of the lawns. It is well-documented that the integrity of the personnel at RTV has improved the conduct in their neighborhoods.
The staff (mostly fairly new)–Brittany Goins, Executive Administrator; James Goins, House Manager; and Currie Mingo, bilingual intake specialist say, ‘We walk side by side with the residents on their paths.’
Re-entry Rehabilitation Program
The programs include a 6-month recovery housing component; MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) for individuals who have engaged in substance abuse) along with individual and group therapy.
Group interactions include Coping Skills, Anger Management, Healthy Relationships, Relapse Prevention, Peer Recovery and Job Skills. All these are geared to helping build self-esteem and the ability to become independent.
Overall there have been many successes and Halley looks forward to growing the program.