Founded in 2014 in Austin, Texas, by executive director Patricia Jennings, Shekinah Communities, provides gender-specific sober living for men and women. The Hebrew word “Shekinah” means, “divine manifestation.” The name alludes to a spiritual awakening experienced by Jennings in February 1990 who was battling addiction. Since then, she has been clean and sober. With Shekinah Communities, her mission is providing a safe living solution for those who are struggling with chemical dependency.
Accommodations and Amenities
Shekinah Communities operates two male-only houses and one female house. The women’s house accommodates ten clients, while lodgings vary for the men. No more than two individuals are paired in furnished rooms, and single-occupancy rooms are available in the men’s houses if the current occupancy permits. A resident manager lives on the premises. Public transportation is located in close proximity.
A room in the women’s house features twin beds with white headboards, topped with white comforters and red pillows. Shelves stocked with books, a nightstand, quaint lamp and closet complete the subtle decor. At the men’s house, one private room includes a full-sized bed with black comforters and matching pillows. The rooms each have a flat screen TV, nightstand, closet, lamp and an armchair.
Clients are responsible for their own groceries and meal preparation, which is conducted in fully equipped kitchens. At Shekinah Communities, amenities include a Cable TV in each room, Wi-Fi, house computers with Internet, telephones with free domestic long distance calling, laundry facilities, parking and extra refrigerator and cabinet space.
Rules and Regulations
Admission policies vary. Most clients must have been clean and sober for a minimum of three months prior to admittance and have undergone primary care. Potential clients are advised to have a telephone consultation with Jennings, before completing an online application, since a non-refundable $75 processing fee must be submitted. Other required documents include a background check authorization, proof of employment or SSI benefits, copies of photo ID and social security card, and if applicable, two recent paycheck stubs.
Requirements for residents include attendance at one weekly 12-step meeting and at the 8 pm Sunday house meeting. Employment or a source of regular income is mandatory. Those who lose their jobs must sign up for unemployment at the Texas Work Force within a two-week period. Additionally, unemployed clients are not allowed to sleep past 8 am or hang around the house. They must be out of the residence and actively searching for work. While the women’s house has no curfew, the Highland House for men has a 10 pm curfew Sundays through Thursdays, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Clients are limited to one weekly guest who can’t stay at the house past ten pm. No overnight guests are allowed.
Performance of household chores is mandatory. Houses must be kept immaculate, and clients must respect their housemates’ private belongings, make their beds everyday, be aware of their electrical usage and not smoke inside the house. Designated outdoor areas are reserved for smokers. At Shekinah Communities, clients are subject to random drug and alcohol screenings. Relapsed clients are immediately dismissed from the premises. Other acts that warrant immediate eviction include stealing or borrowing a resident’s food or property without permission.
At the Royal Oak residence, there is a garden where men plant cucumbers, watermelons, herbs and other fruits and vegetables, with the hopes that the gardening might be conducive to their recovery.
Shekinah Communities enjoys a great reputation in the Austin recovery community. For this reason, there are not often openings for women but there are more likely to be available beds for male residents. This sober living community probably caters better to working clients or those with some time under their belt and who seek a comfortable bed to crash on at night. For clients seeking an affordable, loosely structured recovery-oriented protocol, this is the right place.
Office Mailing Address:
Shekinah Communities, Inc.
111 W Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752
Men’s Sober Living Home
6001 Thames Drive
Austin, TX 78723
Men’s Sober Living Home
6901 Priscilla Drive
Austin, TX 78752
Women’s Sober Living Home
9800 Parkfield Drive
Austin, TX 78758
Shekinah Communities Cost: $425 (30 days). Reach Shekinah Communities by phone at (512) 900-9823 or by email at [email protected]
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Photo courtesy by By Austinite81512 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)
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