Catholic-Run Halfway House Gets Cool Welcome From Houston Neighbors

The women's halfway house, Angela House, is hoping to move from its current location near 249 and West Road to a new location closer to the city.

Officials with Angela House are hoping this move will provide residents with more opportunities to get their lives back on track.

Sister Maureen O'Connell, the head of Angela House, wants to reassure her new neighbors that residents of Angela House won't be causing trouble for the neighborhood.

"These are women who have already made a decision that they want to make their life different."

But people who live around the proposed new address, located near Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic parish, are worried that these women could attract unwanted elements to the neighborhood.

This is Donna Hernandez, who has lived in the neighborhood near Bellfort and Mykawa since 1955.

"It's not the women we're afraid of, it's what they will attract to the neighborhood. Because they have friends, they have family, who knows who got them into their life of crime."

The residents of Angela House participate in many activities to help with their rehabilitation.  

One of those activities is a creative writing course. Writing Teacher Anne Gorman says this process helps the women figure out their place in society.

"I think the calling up of one's story and sharing it kind of gets them in touch with who they are, finding their voice, trying to
get a perspective on life experiences, people in their lives."

Residents near the proposed new site say they'll fight the relocation of Angela House.

But both Gorman and Sister O'Connell are confident that over time the neighborhood will find the women of Angela House are just trying to get a second chance.

"I think we're good neighbors and I think that's what the people of the community over at Mt. Carmel will discover."

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