Founded in 1975 in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, Minnesota, Damascus Way Re-Entry Center is a non-profit organization that provides faith-based male-only transitional housing for criminal justice clients who have recently left prison, as well as financially challenged men who seek safe and structured sober living. Their mission is to help clients discard unhealthy, destructive lifestyles, learn new ways to live and become productive members of society. In 2006, Damascus Way expanded, and opened a second facility for men in Rochester, Minnesota.
Accommodations and Amenities
The Golden Valley facility, a spacious two story sand-colored brick building with white trim, houses 18 men. The Rochester facility, an apartment building, has a 28-bed capacity and houses clients in two bedroom units, which include kitchens, showers and bathrooms. At Golden Valley, men are housed in quadruple-occupancy, comfortably furnished rooms. Amenities include laundry facilities, TV and recreation rooms.
At Golden Valley, one room includes large windows, two twin beds, a bunk bed, a patio chair, and two large wooden dressers. The beds include wooden headboards, and the bunks have extra built in storage space. Ample sunlight bathes the rooms, providing a sense of spaciousness. At both properties staff lives on the premises, and provides around-the-clock supervision.
At Damascus Way, clients are provided with hot meals, as well as other donated food items. Additionally, clients qualify for food stamp benefits, as well as government assistance which helps pay for additional groceries, and initial lodging costs. Financially challenged clients are provided with bus passes, clothing, and personal hygiene items.
Rules and Regulations
Prior to admission, clients must have undergone detox, and pass an alcohol and drug screening. A 60-day minimum length of stay is required. Upon arrival, clients are assigned case managers, who help them design individual recovery protocols. Since a majority of the men are criminal justice clients, Department of Corrections obligations are incorporated into their curriculums.
Upon entering or leaving the facility, the men must notify staff. Additionally, they have to call the facility at various times during the day, to touch base and inform staff of their whereabouts. Requirements for all residents include obtaining and maintaining employment or enrolling in an academic schedule, including working towards a GED or going to college. Clients are provided with comprehensive vocational assistance, as well as academic counseling. Other requirements include attending Sunday church service, participating in Bible study, attending 12-step meetings, including Celebrate Recovery or AA/NA, and participating in life skills, as well as peer support groups.
Clients participate in groups and recovery support meetings during the evenings, and many men attend the Oak Grove Church in Minneapolis. Case managers provide referrals to legal and financial services, mental health providers, medical services, and recovery support groups. On a weekly basis, clients meet with their case managers to review goals, tackle personal concerns and to participate in prayer. Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. At Damascus Way, residents who relapse must leave the premises immediately, to ensure the safety of the entire household.
Other services besides housing include establishing a positive sober support network, creating a permanent housing plan, and making sure that they have fulfilled all probation and parole board requirements.
To successfully graduate from the program, clients must find feasible employment, receive positive reviews from employers, develop a financial budget, participate in Church and Bible study and join a 12-step recovery support group.
After clients receive employment, the 30-day cost is $360.
Damascus Way provides clients, specifically those with a criminal justice background, a second chance at life. While the house is faith-based, clients are also provided with comprehensive services designed to help them maintain a clean and sober lifestyle, as well as opportunities for them to get back on their feet.
Damascus Way Re-Entry Center
5730 Olson Memorial Hwy
Minneapolis, MN 55422
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