Halfway house opens in North Carolina for men released from prison | North Carolina News

By DUSTIN GEORGE, Shelby star

SHELBY, North Carolina (AP) — March 1 was a big day for Scott Ellis and his family. It was the anniversary of his mother’s death, the day his family moved into a new home almost ten years ago and, more recently, the conversion of his old family home into a place where men can find a second chance in life.

Ellis was among a crowd of people to celebrate the opening of the Cedric Dean Home, a halfway house for men recently released from prison.

“Today is like three celebrations in one day, and the Ellis family is honored to be part of this celebration,” said Ellis, one of many supporters to speak at the opening of the House.

The house is owned by author and activist Cedric Dean, who himself served more than 20 years in prison for drug trafficking.

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“It all started with me sitting in jail and hearing all the stories of the guys who got out and found each other right away,” Dean said.

The purpose of the house, he added, is to give men who otherwise would not have a home after prison a place where they can start their lives over, find work and build up credit with the aim of find permanent accommodation.

“Because if we’re not there for them, someone else will be. Someone who knew them before they went to jail, not who they are now. And they’re going to have the drugs and all the bad stuff that they don’t need to go back,” he said.

The house can accommodate up to 20 men for a few months at a time. It’s run by an on-site property manager, and all the men who live there must work and take courses in conflict resolution and financial literacy.

Dean has deals with upholstery manufacturer STI and a local church group to provide employment for the men who live at the house.

The entire house is wired with cameras and each resident’s probation officers have access to the facility 24/7.

Artie Swinton, Senior Probation Officer in the United States and Workforce Development Specialist, said Cedric Dean Home fills an important niche for the region.

“When you give someone a home and you give someone a job, you start making them individual taxpayers. They start becoming part of the community,” Swinton said. “They start contributing to the community, instead of taking those taxes and resources when they are incarcerated.”

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