The Lilac House Team

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.


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