New Connections' primary program is Irma Gary House (IGH) which provides pre-release support, transitional housing, intensive case management, skill-building opportunities, and advocacy for women reentering the community after prison.
Because our house is small and the need is great, New Connections has always served nonresidents through pre-release support and extended case management. Two additional nonresidential, projects were instituted in 2011:
The Chain Gang Collective: a small, income-generating project open to all female ex-offenders and transitional house residents. Donated jewelry is "reformed" into beautiful new creations that are sold at fair trade markets and craft fairs. Half of the purchase price goes to the craftsperson; the remainder is used to purchase tools and supplies.
The Reentry Resource Hotline: a response to the increasing number of request for assistance from ex-offenders and their advocates. Initially we attempted to meet this need by collaborating with other organizations on the Tacoma Pierce County Reentry Resource Wiki (www.re-entryresources.wikispaces.com). New Connections set up the wiki and has served as site administrator for 2 years.
As contacts increased, we purchased an online number and dedicated staff time to assisting men and women making the transition from incarceration to community life. Our focus is Pierce County; however, we are also building national resources due to periodic request from throughout the country.