COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – For now, the 23-acre tract of land near Anna in Collin County is covered in wildflowers and prairie grass. But, Shannon White has another crop in mind — hope.
“I’ve got women who literally walk from the jail, with the bag over their arm to my place… and we have to find a place for them to live,” says White, Executive Director and Founder of a McKinney non-profit and substance abuse treatment center called Grace To Change. But, many of the agency’s clients also have felony convictions, (For example—a DWI that involves a child passenger, says White) so a nearby homeless shelter and even apartments are not options—even if they had the money.
“I was sitting there talking to Matt (Hilton, Grace to Change Board Member), and I said, ‘ya know, I’ve really been thinking about these tiny house things’… and he looked at me said ‘let’s run down that rabbit trail’,” recalls White. “So I’m sitting there in the middle of the night watching HGTV, so that’s how it all got started.”
White hopes to build a community of tiny homes where recovering addicts can get treatment, support and a safe place to stay clean.
“This is going to be a place where people can heal, where people can grow, and people can come back to society and be a part of, instead of outcasts.”
It is indeed, a “field of dreams”… a place where recovering addicts can rebuild the dreams shattered by drugs and addiction.
Clients will initially live for free in a “dorm style” tiny house built for four. After successfully completing the first 90 days of the program, the goal is for the women to get jobs and be able to pay a nominal rent, $200 dollars a month to share a tiny house built for two. Ultimately, those who successfully complete 6 months in the program can work and live in a single tiny home for as long as they want or need to, says White, while paying $400 a month in rent.
“After 6 months, you’ve been clean, you’re a vital resource to someone two days out of jail…it fosters that whole recovery community that we talk about.”
Client Lisa Deaton—nearing the year mark in her recovery from a meth addiction—says without Grace to Grace, she would almost certainly be back behind bars. In spite of repeated trips to prison, Deaton says she never got help for her addiction until she found the McKinney based treatment center.
“If every town could have a place like them… we would have a lot less drug addicts on the street,” says Deanton, her eyes filling with tears. She says Grace To Change helped give her a choice being what she calls “stinking thinking” and living a good life.
“Whenever you come out of jail, and:55 you don’t have nowhere to go, the only way to have a life, is to go back to that, the only way you can make money, the only way you can live is the street life.”
A Collin County family donated the 23 acres of land near Anna to launch the project. Now, White is counting on the community to help her “field of dreams” produce a harvest of hope, by way of a tiny home.
“Tiny houses, big recovery.”