Wolf Administration Tours State-Funded Housing and Service Program to Reduce Recidivism in Erie
Erie, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin toured Climate Changers, Inc. in Erie. Climate Changers, which was supported by DCED’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), works through its Total Change Program to reduce recidivism, increase the workforce, and provide transitional rehabilitative housing for individuals released from prison.
“Climate Changers’ work here in Erie is crucial for the wellbeing of so many individuals facing the difficult process of adjusting to life outside of incarceration,” Secretary Davin said. “That doesn’t just help the people individually, but it also lifts the entire community. That’s why the Wolf Administration, through programs like NAP, so strongly supports programs like this.”
Founder Fred Williams created Climate Changers and its Total Change Program in an effort to reduce recidivism and assist formerly-incarcerated individuals with re-entry into society. The program was inspired by his own 18+ year incarceration. It is divided into three steps: creating a plan before an individual is released from the correctional facility; providing housing and educational support services after release; and ensuring that the program’s resources are available to participants throughout their life as law-abiding and productive citizens.
Through support from NAP in 2017, Climate Changers renovated a vacant space to provide comprehensive housing and services for men. Its most recent project, also supported by NAP, will renovate a facility to specifically accommodate a Total Change Program for women. Two-thirds of women released from prison are re-arrested and return to prison within the first three years of release. The facility will enable more than 50 women per year to fulfill their court-mandated rehabilitation orders, receive job training, and gain employment from one of Climate Changers’ local participating companies.
“Climate Changers, Inc. Total Change Program aggressively addresses several of the main issues that continue to plague our community such as opioid usage, homelessness, adult education, workforce development, and recidivism, just to name a few,” said Williams. “The Neighborhood Assistance Program is a vital tool in rebuilding the Erie community because it allows businesses to actively participate in redirecting the lives of individuals within our society who have lost their way.”
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132