At Magdalene Serenity House, we offer our residents the best opportunities to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But did you know that we also encourage residents to focus on setting goals for their financial health?
During each stage of residency, our women are equipped with goal setting techniques and matched savings opportunities to support them on their journey of recovery and healing. When a resident is first admitted to Magdalene Serenity House, they are aided by our staff in settling into their new home and accessing community resources. Each resident is then taken with a staff member to shop for clothing and other items as needed.
Additionally, new residents are granted a weekly $20 stipend for any incidental living expenses until they are able to secure employment. The women may also apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and are permitted a weekly $50 grocery stipend until their SNAP card is received. Legal advocacy is provided to each of our residents to help them clean up their past legal history and get up-to-date on any outstanding fines/fees.
From the time women enter our program to when they graduate, rent and utility fees are completely funded by Magdalene, along with any necessary household supplies. Magdalene also offers case management, advocacy and referrals to nonprofit providers for medical, dental, addiction recovery and mental health treatment. Along with helping women access healthcare for those with minimal income, Magdalene assists new residents with urgent health and dental needs until they obtain health insurance or safety net coverage. Residents who require over-the-counter or prescription medications are also assisted in obtaining them.
Along with other group educational opportunities, Magdalene hosts a financial literacy group. This class teaches residents important skills on money management, budgeting, saving and even investing. After attending class sessions, residents are more informed and confident about their financial decisions.
After about three months at Magdalene Serenity House, residents enter Phase 2 of our program. During this phase, residents are encouraged to maintain part-time employment with transportation provided by our staff for the first six months.
Another essential component of our program is providing residents with opportunities to further their education. If any resident does not have her high school degree or GED, she is required to enroll in a program that allows her to obtain one. Our women are supported financially in their tuition, fees and textbooks during enrollment in GED programs, specialized vocational training, and college study, dependent upon available funds.
In order to foster financial growth, residents in this phase are required to open a personal savings account and develop a budget, with the help of our staff, and hold at least $100 to save towards their future independence. Throughout their residency at Magdalene Serenity House, our residents are guided through sound money management and required to keep detailed records of their deposits and withdrawals.
During their second year of residency and third phase in the program, residents are provided continued support with educational expenses and required to maintain full-time employment as they prepare to reintegrate into the community. Residents are expected during this phase to start planning for their future graduation by securing stable, safe housing, work, a budget, and a plan for savings.
After our staff has ensured that this plan is being implemented, residents are eligible to graduate and become Sisters for Life. Graduated residents are provided a mattress and bedding and other household items for their new home and assisted in accessing community resources for paying housing expenses.
One of the more unique opportunities offered at Magdalene is the Matched Savings Program. Women who successfully deposit $100 or more in their savings accounts for a total of 6 months are eligible to receive a matched $600 to increase their financial independence, confidence, and stability in the future. Residents are eligible for this match up to two times while they are in the two year residential program. To ensure these savings are well-spent, Magdalene requires this check to be used for post-secondary education, home or apartment payments, car payments, debt reduction, court fees, or small business development.
Our central focus at Magdalene Serenity House is to help rebuild the lives of women who have experienced trauma, addiction, and incarceration, and while that certainly includes providing emotional and social support, we believe that this cannot be done without financial assistance and growth. That’s why our residents are given various opportunities throughout their time in the program to improve their money management skills and save funds for their future outside of Magdalene. And it is because of your help that we can provide these opportunities to each woman that we support.