May 22, 2019

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Kalimba Foundation to open local women's home
LAWRENCEVILLE - Starting next month, women who are down on their luck will have a place to live in Lawrenceville.

Through the efforts of Lawrence County URCHOICE and the Kalimba Foundation, a home at 1008 12th Street, once occupied by Cra-Wa-La Partners in Probation, has been turned into a group home. It will be known as Oxfordhouse Lawrenceville. The home is capable of housing up to eight women and four children, and is likely to open early next month.

Leon Venable, CEO of the Kalimba Foundation, says the home will provide a "simple, safe, environment for (women) to live as they reclaim their hold on life."

Jerry Pacholski, Lawrence County URCHOICE official, says the project has been in the works for a long time.

"Six or seven years ago, when we were first getting started, I think this was in the back of our minds," Pacholski said. "It was never stated as such, but I think this is what we were always working toward."

According to Pacholski, Venable has some simple rules to maintain residence. No drinking, drugs or disturbances.

"Otherwise, everything will be fine," Pacholski said.

Residents will be required to hold down jobs, and pay rent, according to Venable. As long as they stay in accordance, they can live in the home for as long as they want.

"They'll be welcome to stay there all their lives," Venable said. "As long as the house is there, they can stay as long as they don't return to drinking or using any type of drugs. We consider it permanent housing."

Venable says Oxfordhouse Lawrenceville will be the 87th that Kalimba will operate within Illinois. The nearest similar operation is a men's home, which recently opened in Robinson, that has a capacity of six.

Venable says that the Oxfordhouse Lawrenceville model has a success rate of 87 percent.

"We're looking forward to serving women who are currently homeless," Venable said. "We're looking forward to seeing women turn their lives around."

Pacholski says URCHOICE supporters were continually reminded through feedback that such a facility was "sorely needed."

"This area, southeastern Illinois, doesn't always get all the attention for a facility like this," he said. "This is the kind of opportunity we've been looking for."

According to Pacholski, URCHOICE and Lawrence County Drug Court candidates will likely have the first chance to live at Oxfordhouse Lawrenceville. However, the facility will be open to all who are interested.

"We don't want people to go back into the environment where they got hooked before," he said. "They'll be in a supervised environment, where they can listen to each other, help each other."

Candidate interviews are already under way, according to Pacholski.

According to Venable, anyone interested in living at Oxfordhouse Lawrenceville can call the Kalimba Foundation's toll free number at 1-855-255-6108. In addition, Venable can be reached at 224-419-2122.


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