OBK has been working since 2014 on developing a Christian faith-based organization that is dedicated to founding a “returning citizens home” that is dedicated to the full integration of formerly incarcerated persons into St. Clair County and the East St. Louis community.
Over the last year our focus was to find suitable housing that would meet our requirements to house 5-6 men in East St. Louis since there is a real need. Many of the 30+ structures reviewed would not meet our requirements for a home (not a half-way or flop house). Since rehab cost in most cases was excessive we are planning to possibly build in the area working with the East St. Louis Planning commission.
OBK has met with the City Manager Courtney Logan to explain our Mission and Vision for a returning citizens home in the East St. Louis community. Mr. Logan was very receptive about the meeting and was able to make many suggestions about how OBK would fit with their new vision for the city. (We would recommend that if you have not read the recent book by Mr. Logan “Shaped by Fire” that you get a copy and learn about his life growing up in East St. Louis public housing and would go on to receive his law degree from St. Louis University School of Law. His story traces his roots which will eventually lead him back to work with his own community as the City Manager). City Manager Logan indicated that the next step was to meet with a representative of the East St. Louis Planning Commission and that was done July. The Planning Commission has outlined what they would like to see about moving forward with the OBK Home for Returning Citizens.
We are currently working to prepare a presentation to the East St. Louis Planning Commission on September 21 and will outline our plans that include reentry services, including supportive housing, life and career skills, and counseling services. This will include bringing in social and human services, faith communities and government agencies, to assist the men in the process of integration.
OBK is currently asking for the support in writing of prison corrections personnel, charitable & church organizations, judicial persons, political leaders and many other supportive organizations that know the need for assisting returning citizens to reduce recidivism.
The OBK returning citizens home will augment an already outstanding group of Catholic organizations that have provided assistance to the needs of the East St. Louis community. Several of these organizations would include the following: Catholic Urban Programs, St. Vincent de Paul, Griffin Centers, Holy Angels Shelter, Sr. Thea Bowman School, Catholic Day Care, East Side Heart & Family Center, Vincent Gray High School, Neighborhood Law Office, Cosgrove’s Kitchen & SVDP Thrift Store and Catholic Cemeteries.
Our Brothers’ Keepers of Southern Illinois will add to this outstanding group of organizations that will continue to provide the citizens of East St. Louis with resources to meet their needs while providing a need to assist the returning citizens that will come back to their home family and community.
We ask you to continue to pray for the OBK Home as we continue to build community support and monetary resources to complete the OBK Mission and Vision.