OUR Mission

Our Mission: To help formerly incarcerated women successfully reenter the community by providing them with a home. Their trauma and other individual needs will be addressed in a supportive environment with mentors who have shared experience.

Pamela Zimba

Founder & Executive Director

Read about what inspired Pamela to start The Lilac House

I spent months prior to being released preparing for my transition. I had hoped to relocate to NYC where more resources and opportunities were available. However, because I was not from NYC I did not have the option to parole there unless I could find a transitional house to accept me. Sadly, I learned that the existing transitional houses required me to either be diagnosed with a serious health issue or mental illness or have a dependent child who would be residing with me.

I was released into the custody of the Department of Social Services of Westchester County and placed in a shelter that was uncomfortably identical to the facility I had just left. The most disturbing part was that men who had committed crimes against women and children were also housed there, and the security was minimal. Caseworkers did the bare minimum and were not trained to deal with people coming home from prison, especially not people who had been incarcerated for an extended period of time.

Luckily, I had a supportive family who purchased a laptop for me so I was able to do my own job and housing search. I was also able to rely on family for transportation and clothing. Still, going through this process, I often felt helpless and as if nobody around me understood what I was going through. I can only imagine what women who don’t even have a basic support system must go through. Having successfully transitioned and knowing first-hand the support and resources that are necessary, I feel it is my duty to assist other women. They should not be left to fend for themselves.


Why The Lilac House Matters?

Though Westchester County is home to 3 prisons, the county suffers from an extreme lack of transitional housing options meant for formerly incarcerated individuals.  

More than 300 residents return from incarceration to Westchester County each year. Currently, upon release, many of these residents go to shelters not designed to handle their specific reentry needs. Access to stable housing and supportive resources plays a critical role in a person’s successful reintegration.

With New York State’s annual recidivism rate at 35%, it’s crucial that we create more opportunities for successful reentry. In light of this dire need, The Lilac House Mission is stepping up to the call.

The amount of incarcerated men vastly outnumbers incarcerated women.

Accordingly, the number of men released from prison each year is exponential to the number of women being released. Unfortunately this means that fewer services are in place to accommodate formerly incarcerated women.

The Lilac House helps fill this gap by serving women returning or relocating to Westchester County after release from incarceration.

The Lilac House is a uniquely envisioned transitional residence that offers reentry-specific supportive living.

Our screening process will help ensure that applicants who don’t meet the typical restrictive eligibility requirements, which are characteristic of many other housing options, have equal consideration as long as they are formerly incarcerated.