‘Without this program, I would probably be back on the streets’: Nonprofit helps with transition after incarceration

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – On the outside it looks like any normal home, but inside it’s filled with testimonies, goals, ambitions and achievements.

The Inspiration House is a transitional living home for males in recovery.  

The five-bedroom home, also offers substance abuse treatment, recovery meetings, and clinical services. With its sixth-month program, men are taught to get back in a routine, find meaning in life, and repair damage relationships with friends and family. They also get to play with emotional support animals.

“Once you hit ground, it’s kind of too late to come up with a plan. You already have to know what your purpose is in your next journey,” said Tei Ferguson, founder and director of the Inspiration House. “When we are active with addiction or living unhealthy lifestyles, we don’t have a routine, so it’s important to get that structure. We lack discipline when our life is unmanageable. The program gets you back on track, it makes you accountable.”

It was Ferguson’s personal journey and desire to help others that inspired her to create this organization. She told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that she lived a toxic lifestyle in inappropriate environments which led her to a 70-month stint in federal prison. She believes in second chances because everyone has a saving grace from a higher power.

“I think people make mistakes all the time, who are we not to give someone else a second chance? It’s important that the clients know they aren’t just a statistic and a number,” said Ferguson.

The Inspiration House has been open for three years and has served 80 men who have been released from prison.

Curtis Billingsley spent eight years in prison because of an armed robbery. He explained that it was the long-time in prison that was rehabilitation, it was the six months at the Inspiration House that changed his life.

“The staff members, Ms. Tei, Ms. Claire, they embed something in you. They went through their own course of action, so what they learned they put on us,” Billingsley said. “They’ve been through it also, they knew exactly what we needed to get where we needed to be, it’s not like they told us to do something they haven’t been through.”

He is a graduate of the program and currently being mentored to become a staff member at the Inspiration House. He reflected on his time as a resident, and said it was the small things such as waking up at a certain time, turning his phone in, and making his bed, that made a huge impact on his life.

Current resident Bryan White also has his story of pain that led him to a down a dark path. After the passing of his daughter, White started using drugs and eventually started selling as well. This led him to serve a-year-and-a-half in prison. After serving his time, his dark road got a little brighter. He’s been in recovery treatment at the Inspiration House for the past two-and-a-half-months.

“Without this program, I would probably be back on the streets doing what I was doing before,’ White said. “I have a job I go to everyday, I have a place to go, and I’m just all around happier.”

Most of the time when a person is released from prison, he or she may not have the basic necessities. For the holiday season, the Inspiration House is hosting a adopt-a-resident program. For more information call 260-702-0925.

Here is what each resident needs:

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