NewsPolk County


House of Hope in Polk County 'an answer to prayer' for women leaving prison

Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 18:55:33-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- The bright, butter-yellow home which sits on the side of Havendale Boulveard would be a good home for anyone, including the Polk County elite.

When you first walk in, you may think it was featured on an HGTV episode of Flip or Flop or Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines. But the spacious home is neither of those.

"House of Hope" is new transitional housing for women leaving prison.

“An answer to prayer for many women who are in prison right now that need a safe place to go when they come out,” Sherri Nicely, with the House of Hope, said.

Nicely and Jana Jones met about a year ago in 2017 and quickly fell into friendship after learning about their passion for helping women in need.

“We can’t wait to help stop the cycle, bridge the gap to stop the cycle,” Jones said.

The two Polk County women began their journey of making their dream of the House of Hope come true.

The duo, along with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, announced on Thursday the home will have its first woman move in next month.

“We need re-entry programs not only in Polk County, but around the state and around the nation,” Judd said.

The home, which can serve up to six women, will first serve women leaving Hernando and Ocala prisons.

Prisoners are able to fill out an application for review and if Nicely and Jones feel as if they would be a good fit, they will proceed with an interview.

A woman, who identifies herself as an addict, and another who has spent 10 years in and out of jail told ABC Action News it will serve as more than just a home, but a save haven for women starting a new life after prison.

“It’s going to make them feel good inside and build their self-esteem,” Vanicia Flair said. Flair knows from experience, as addict who went down a path she had to recover from herself.

“Getting clean, getting free from incarceration is just the first step,” Flair said.

The House of Hope will serve as a home, a place of God, will offer counseling services and a platform for continuing education.

So far, the privately-owned transitional housing has been funded by community dollars and the founders.

But, the home is still in need of many items as well as the sponsors for the women when they come to the home.

Items needed are listed below and if you’d like to donate contact the House of Hope:

  • Monthly contributors
  • Television
  • Gas Cards
  • Used Vehicles
  • Gift Certificates
  • Washing Machines
  • Tuition for Education
  • Salary for House Mom
  • Decking for Back Porch

Those intereseted in learning more about House of Hope can click here for more information.