Eric Jackson, and his wife Pauline Gibson who met in NA in 1985 are the co-founders of Empowerment Homes, Inc. in Tampa, Florida. They opened their first sober living house in September 2001 and until recently Empowerment Homes had four facilities. Due to Jackson being injured in a motorcycle accident, Empowerment Homes has downsized to one female-only sober living house which is run by Gibson.
Accommodations and Amenities
The women’s Empowerment Home is a tidy craftsman located in the chic Seminole Heights district of central Tampa. The five-bedroom house has three bathrooms. Enormous trees shade the property and there are front and rear porches with ashtrays for smokers.
The house accommodates eight women. Two rooms are private and the others are double-occupancy. The wooden-floored rooms are furnished with a turn of the century flair that includes quaint twin beds with decorative headboards, dressers, lamps and ceiling fans. Large windows provide abundant sunshine during the day and cool breezes during the evenings. The picturesque bathrooms include claw foot tubs, old-fashioned showerheads, and vintage sinks. The house has a large living room, dining room and fully equipped kitchen.
Women purchase and prepare their own meals. In addition, they must attend to daily household chores prior to 10 am. A house manager lives on the premises. The house is within walking distance of the city bus line, a local convenience store and a few restaurants.
Rules and Regulations
Although it is not required, prior to their arrival at Empowerment Homes, residents have typically been in a residential substance abuse treatment program. Interested applicants are screened over the phone, followed by an intake appointment and house tour. After that, interested clients submit applications, along with a $75 non-refundable processing fee. A drug screen test is performed prior to arrival, and other fees, including a security deposit of $125 are paid. The house welcomes those of all ages, was long as they are over 18. The house appeals to a wide variety of clients and the current residents range between the ages of 18 and 62. The 12-step based facility requires a three-month commitment for length of stay.
Residents must attend five 12-step meetings per week. Approved meetings include AA, NA, OA or Al-Anon. Working residents must have approval for attending daytime meetings. Those with less than 30 days of residency must have meeting attendance forms verified by a meeting secretary. Within their first two weeks, clients must get a home group, purchase a Big Book and obtain a sponsor with a minimum of one year of sobriety.
Curfew times are 11 pm for the first 30 days. After that, curfew is midnight on weekdays and one am on the weekends. When leaving from the residence, clients must sign out. When returning home, another signature is required. The women must be working, enrolled in school or doing volunteer work. Those in school or volunteering must have viable financial assistance. Certain “slippery” jobs that are forbidden include driving a cab, working in a liquor store, bar or strip club. Abstinence from sexual relations for a minimum of six months is required, so that recovery becomes a client’s main priority. Women are subject to random drug and alcohol urine testing and/or Breathalyzer. Empowerment Homes has zero tolerance for relapsed residents as well as those refusing the test.
When speaking on the phone, residents must use proper etiquette. Also, phone calls are not allowed between the hours of 12 am and 5 am from Sundays to Thursdays (except for emergencies).
Empowerment Homes is a no-nonsense 12-step based sober living with a protocol that has stood the test of time since 2001. Hopefully, Mr. Jackson will heal from his injuries soon and get things back up and running at the three additional Empowerment Homes. It appears as if this husband and wife team cares about being of service and provides a solid recovery-oriented environment.
Our Women’s Empowerment (W.E.) Home #1
6107 N. Suwannee Ave
Tampa, FL 33604
10213 Newport Circle
Tampa, Florida 33612
Empowerment Homes Cost: ($600-$740, 30 days, $125, sobriety security deposit, $75 application fee). Reach Empowerment Homes by phone at (813) 933-2891.
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