Providing Hope & Healing
with Judy Felts
For the past twenty-three years, I have served as a volunteer in the Tennessee Prison for Women. During this time, I saw the need for housing for women coming out of prison who were on parole or probation. It was my desire to open a home that was on the Department of Correction approved list to allow women who were on parole or probation to be accepted in the home. That dream became a reality in June 2020. In 2018, we partnered with the Community Housing Partnership of Williamson County and applied for a grant to purchase and renovate a home. We were awarded the grant in May 2019. In June 2020, we opened our first home on 126 W. Fowlkes St. in downtown Franklin. This was the first home in Williamson County that is on the Department of Correction approved list. Being on the Department of Correction approved list means that women can apply for our home all over the state of Tennessee who are presently in jails or prisons. In March 2022 we opened our second home at 2242 S. Berry’s Chapel in Franklin. We now house fifteen women in our program.
There is a huge need for housing for women coming out of prison. When released from prison, a woman often has nowhere to go. If she is granted parole, the Department of Correction will not release her until a proper home is provided. Many times, they are mandated to go to an approved Department of Correction home which is very limited currently. Many women have burned bridges with family members and friends. Employment possibilities are limited due to a lack of skills and a criminal record. So many women end up homeless and hopeless, living on the street. And too often, these women fall back into the same behaviors that landed them in prison.
Our home is a life skills residential program where women can be loved, mentored, educated, and provided life skills to re-enter society with dignity. We have a mission to love and meet the needs of women formerly imprisoned in the Tennessee State prison system. When these women come out of prison they come with the clothes on their backs. We clothe them, feed them, provide transportation, and help with job skills, counseling, dental care, glasses and anything else that they need to restart their life. We hold classes in the homes five days a week that help with addiction, conflict resolution, budgeting, Bible studies, etc. The Oak Cottage for Women will provide a six-month program. Once they have graduated from the program they will be allowed to stay up to a year, but strongly encouraged to transition back into their communities. This faith-based home will give these women a safe and loving environment as they learn how to re-enter back into society. We will support and strengthen our residents physically, emotionally, vocationally and spiritually.
We believe strongly in the mission of the Oak Cottage For Women and we thank you for prayerfully considering how you can be involved.
To learn more about Oak Cottage For Women, visit oakcottage.org.