According to a recent report by the Sentencing Project, in the United States approximately 100 Million people have a criminal record and over 2 million people are currently in jail or prison.
For these people, having even a minor criminal record, such as a misdemeanor or even an arrest without conviction, can create an array of lifelong barriers that can result in isolation, substance abuse, depression, poverty, and even worse criminal trouble in the future.
As a result, numerous companies have been established by or for ex-fellons to have the training, employment, resources, and conditions needed for success — everything from bread companies to restaurants, and starting soon, a tiny house manufacturing company.
Below is a letter from Michael Jalazo who is working to help launch “Second Chance Tiny House Manufacturing Corporation” in Florida which will help homeless people as well as people with a criminal record, to get education, jobs, and housing.
It’s the first program like this in the nation that we’re aware of, and we’re excited to have the small house movement being embraced by those working to create re-entry opportunities. We wish them the best of luck with their endeavor.
Presently they are needing help with small house plans and designs.
Please help in any way you can.
Greg Johnson, President/Director/Facilitator
Small House Society
Date: 26 Feb 2017 @ 1:22 PM EST
Re: Building Tiny Houses to Change Lives
My name is Michael Jalazo, and I am the Executive Director of Pinellas Ex Offender Re Entry Coalition (PERC), a nonprofit in Pinellas County, Florida (Tampa Bay area) that helps formerly incarcerated individuals get back on their feet upon reentry into society. PERC is proposing an exciting social enterprise project to a local foundation for support and I am hoping you’ll partner with us. We’re creating a workforce development program that will train former offenders to construct eight tiny houses in one year. This on the job training will lead to full-time construction job opportunities with the City of St. Petersburg for at least 32 hard to employ formerly incarcerated individuals.
By teaching ex-offenders to construct tiny houses they will develop a tangible skillset that will reduce their chances of returning to incarceration. Workforce training refocuses these individuals’ time and efforts on prosocial activities, making them less likely to engage in riskier behaviors. Attaining a job will enable them to generate income, enhance self-esteem, improve physical and mental health and become self-sufficient. Once self-sufficient, former offenders will come full circle, contributing to society rather than being supported by government and social services.
This project, titled “Second Chance Tiny House Manufacturing Corporation” will yield tiny houses for profit, in turn creating a sustainable business. We will also work with the Pinellas County government, the city of St. Petersburg and the Homeless Leadership Board to populate empty lots with tiny houses to create rapid housing to reduce homelessness in Pinellas County.
A number of partners are already involved in this project, providing stipends for training and lots to build on. An experienced contractor who is also a veteran in recovery will lead our efforts. However, we are in need of plans and designs for tiny house construction. Will you help turn around the lives of these in-need formerly incarcerated individuals by collaborating with PERC and donating tiny house plans?
Time is of the essence. We are submitting our grant proposal at the end of this week – please reply to this email and tell me that your company is in! PERC is a nonprofit, so your contribution will be tax deductible.
Certainly, feel free to call about details.
Michael D. Jalazo
Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition
Clearwater: 727-408-5260 Ext 208; St. Petersburg 727-954-3993 x201