Lenny graduated from the RISE In-Prison Program in 2019 with flying colors. He worked diligently on his reentry plan and was welcomed home to the community in the Fall of 2022.
Last month, Lenny's parole office notified him that he had to vacate his current residence at a halfway house within 30 days.
Because of circumstances out of his control, the halfway house was no longer approved for Nebraska Department of Corrections residents.
Lenny and his RISE Reentry Specialist, Aaron, worked hard together to find an apartment. Phone calls, visits, emails...denied, denied, denied. All because of a felony background.
With two weeks left before being required to vacate, they continued to scramble with no luck. Lenny may be forced to move with nowhere to go. Homelessness.
Though frustrated, Lenny refused to give up. He'd already come so far in his second chance.
On a Monday, one week left on the clock, Lenny and Aaron found an apartment for $50 more than he had budgeted. They met with the landlord, viewed the apartment and applied.
The days passed, and anxiety raised, but Lenny never gave in to fear.
On Friday, they received the call from the rental agency that Lenny was approved! He moved in the following Monday and we are all jumping for joy and excited for this next step in Lenny's journey!
Reentry is crisis. It's not uncommon to have a roof over your head one day and the threat of it being gone the next. Access to housing can help improve public safety, as research has shown it is correlated with decreases in crime and recidivism.
Access to safe and affordable housing impacts one's ability to find employment, access to health services, transportation, and belonging in the community.
We are grateful for our RISE Reentry Specialists, like Aaron, who walk with our graduates in the community day-in and day-out to ensure their needs are met.
We are so proud of Lenny and his determination to not give up.
Welcome home, Lenny. Welcome home.
If you have rental properties we can add to our list for RISE graduates coming home, please email Erica Raetz, Director of Reentry Services, here.
PS: Lenny also got his driver's license at the end of April! He proudly sent us a selfie in front of his new vehicle - smiles all around!