Who What How
Who We Are
True Beginnings, established as a 501(c)3 organization in 2013 in the Hampton, VA region, by a formerly incarcerated woman, Vera Moore, who has a vision of providing other formerly incarcerated women true access to prosperity and equity through wrap-around services such as trauma informed case management, life coaching, nutrition and wellness workshops, family therapy, employment readiness groups, and other gender responsive programing.
These services bridge the many gaps associated with reentry. Vera Moore experienced her first bout with prison in 1997, faced a life sentence for attempted murder and arson, but refused to accept the plea and fought for a lesser charge; she received four years at half time. Ms. Moore tried several times to get her life together, however, having experienced abuse as a child coupled with an abusive marriage lead her to a nagging crack addiction causing her to lose her children, be homeless while pregnant, and end her career in Real Estate.
The weight of life and social norms was on many occasions too much to bear with no support, little to no resources, and various obstacles gave up and regressed. In 2008, exhausted and vulnerable, she recognized her own trauma in her second oldest daughter and made a solid decision to never look back. Ms. Moore formed True Beginnings in 2012 after identifying what was most beneficial in the journey of her and her family, a solid support network, trauma informed treatment, and relatable case management; she has continued on the quest to build legacies with other women like herself for the children who suffered undeserving.
What We Do
True Beginnings addresses trauma in the midst of housing and job readiness, as the first order of business in assisting women through transitioning from incarceration into a productive lifestyle; understanding that 87% of the women who have been incarcerated have withstood some sort of sexual or physical abuse in their lifetime.
Through a three phase process, True Beginnings offers gradual steps to assisting women with feeling whole and striving toward overcoming their past, making better substantial choices, and learning ways to cope and become productive citizens.
How We Do It
Through True Beginning, Women Supporting Women in Crisis campaign, True Beginning believes that peer services is the most effective. True Beginning staffs formerly incarcerated individuals for direct services is an innovative, gender responsive trauma informed approach to re‐entry services. Vera Moore understands that women are different than men.
True Beginnings focuses on women understanding that if we service the women, we service the entire family and create change for generations to come.
True Beginning offers low rent shared housing where no woman is denied because of their inability to pay and is offered the ability to focus on healing rather than employment immediately upon release from prison. True Beginning believes that each woman must learn the tools needed to live life productively before taking on stressors that can lead back to incarceration.
True Beginning works to change policy of the state that outlines the by offering a sense of community where each individual is gaining tools and learning to live in a living space, whole families will break free from family poverty and incarceration trends giving their children a running start at living their best life.
In the formation of True Beginnings-Divinity House, we have enlisted several agencies and individuals whose missions are inline with that of True Beginnings to provide the necessary professional services needed to assist in the forward movement, healing and growth of the women who chose to become residents.
Each agency and professional volunteers their time and support as a partner, signing a ninety day to six month M.O.U and confidentiality agreement.
All service providers have been carefully vetted and are required to undergo an orientation prior to beginning services. The partners of True Beginnings range from Trauma Specific Mental Health, Spiritual Healing, AA/NA, Leadership and Personal Style, Nutrition, GED Tutors, Legal Aid, Real Estate Management, Financial experts, and Family Therapists.
True Beginnings has also partnered with medical insurance agencies such as Health Plan of Nevada, Anthem Blue Cross, and Silver Summit to provide the women with such services as transportation, rental assistance, extensive behavior health assistance as well as help with filling prescriptions for medications and eye wear.
True Beginnings believes that legacies can and will be built if families are provided opportunity, education, and a support network that is relatable and expresses genuine concern for the duration, as there is no cookie cutter approach to the transition from incarceration into society, there must be a support network willing and in place to assist for as long as it may take.
We Have the Power to Impact Our Future, and We’re Doing Something About It
True Beginnings works diligently to bring awareness and address policies that preserve classism, especially as it pertains to recidivism. While society has focused on the underlined symptoms of incarceration: substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, True Beginnings works with local and national organizations to dismantle the systems that perpetuate recidivism within the low to no income communities.
Under the leadership of formerly incarcerated individuals, True Beginnings joins in the protests, rallies, and local initiatives, taking the message to the street and door to door. Following the African proverb and the mission of Dr. Frank Laubach, ”Each one teach one, True Beginnings volunteers purposefully to share our gifts, talents, blessings, accomplishments, successes and failures from other movements around the world as we push the initiatives that will change our community and how people are treated within it.
Nevada, a swing state, has gone between Republican and Democrat support during the last decade. Although Nevada has chosen a Democratic Governor, many of the white residents support the views of Donald Trump. With approximately 42% of the community being white, 38% Hispanic, and 15% African American, it is clear who governs the laws. At this time, Nevada is one of several states where data has finally become important to drive re-entry initiatives, however, it has yet to grow roots, therefore, many of the various ordinances on the books were written and implemented by a more conservative demographic. These initiatives and policies have divided regions such as Las Vegas into sections that oppress the low-income communities as with other areas in various states, however, due to the amount of wealth that saturates Las Vegas, the division is overwhelmingly noticeable.
To create change and lessen the gaps, True Beginnings believes that the responsibility is not solely that of the government, but also must depend on the work of our community. Partnered with SAFE Housing Network and WOJO (Women Organizing for Justice and Opportunity), True Beginnings recruits others to assist in creating change with the focus being to dismantle systemic oppression. True Beginnings follows such missions as All of Us or None, PLAN Action (Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada), Mass Liberation, National Bail Out, and several other alliances, believing that after one has completed their sentence, they should have a fair chance at opportunities that will warrant productive lifestyles, family reunification, housing, education, and quality employment.
HOMELESSNESS IN LAS VEGAS
At this time, Las Vegas homeless epidemic is 8th in the country, and we have over 1600 families on the list for housing. TB is working to accumulate data to support how homeless statistics are affected by release after incarceration, due to the overwhelming number of landlords who refuse to rent to individuals with negative backgrounds. The issue of criminal convictions has some families on the list for permanent housing as well as in shelters for years. The county assistance program needs to be addressed and new laws implemented by HUD, that do not discriminate. Unless we begin to treat housing as a right and not a privilege, the numbers of incarceration and homelessness will continue to rise simultaneously.
Women Supporting Women in Crisis
True Beginnings has a vision of providing other formerly incarcerated women true access to prosperity and equity through wrap-around services such as trauma informed case management, life coaching, nutrition, financial education, and wellness workshops, family therapy, employment readiness groups, and other gender responsive programing.
Women, we encouraged you to join forces, even if you have never experienced anything you believe relates to those we service. True Beginnings believes in bridging gaps. Too many times women compete, being a part of our Women Supporting Women in Crisis campaign, we urge women to set aside differences and assist each other on a journey that will restore hope.
Join our Women Supporting Women in Crisis MENTORSHIP program. Become a provider, volunteer, a mentor and watch the light shine.
Housing Is A Right Not A Privilege
Landlords follow a general set of principals when renting homes, apartments, and condominiums, however, only when renting space governed by the Federal government, are they required to run a background check. Some may see running a criminal background check as a safe practice when this policy actually hurts our economy rather than supports it.
According to the Fair Housing Act, formerly incarcerated individuals are not protected unless their crime was directly related to a drug addiction, however, individuals with chemical dependency in their backgrounds are not the only people who strive to be better, live better and become productive citizens. It is about time that American society stop putting everyone in a box and picking out only those they who fit a criteria. It is time American society stop being lazy and actually start utilizing their best judgment toward humanity and not the all mighty dollar.
True Beginnings runs the #AmandlaVillage campaign asking landlords and management agencies to work with formerly incarcerated individuals, to negate their previous life styles and take into consideration the person in the present and all they are doing to change their future.