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A Second Chance at Life: Apartments for Homeless Hire Former Drug Users

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An apartment complex that offers permanent, supportive housing for the homeless is hiring former drug users to give them a second chance at life.

Hudson Villas opened in June and is already at maximum capacity. It is home to 60 people who formerly dealt with homelessness.

There are eight employees at the facility. Managers hired two graduates of the Women in Recovery program. Family and Children's Services runs the program as an alternative to incarceration. It helps women cope with addiction and reintegrate into society and the workplace. One of the two women at Hudson Villas works the front desk and another is a kitchen assistant.

"We were in discussion about how we were going to staff some of these positions," said Hudson Villas director Brian Darrough. He said Hudson Villas aims to make people healthier and happier. Hiring women who could use a second chance fits into that goal. He said both women have been invaluable workers.

Cheri Brackett is an administrative assistant and runs the front desk. She faced seven years to life in prison for endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamines. Instead, she spent two years in Women and Recovery. She said a worker with that program introduced her to Hudson Villas.

"This has been an amazing job for me. It's like I've told everyone, this is by far the best job I've ever had," Brackett said.

Similarly, Joslyn Smith is a graduate of Women and Recovery and is grateful for her position at Hudson Villas. She works in the kitchen, serving meals. She dealt with a crack cocaine addiction for about 20 years. After the year she spent in recovery, she said she enjoys being there for her residents.

"It means a lot to me because I'm in a position to help others now," Smith said.

Neither woman lives in the apartments but both have secured their own housing.

Darrough said if more funds become available, he would definitely consider hiring more graduates of the program.
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