By Kathy Chouteau
A trio of San Pablo pastors is appealing for community support toward the purchase of a re-entry home that aims to help the formerly incarcerated successfully transition back into their families and society. They aim to raise the funding needed by mid-February so that they can have the house running by March.
To this end, the three pastors—Rich Kinney, founder/director of Apostle City Ministries, Hollie McLeod, pastor of Family Church and Sebastian D’Souza, pastor of Church of the Open Door—have launched the San Pablo Re-entry Program as a project of Paraclete, a faith-based, soon-to-be IRS-designated nonprofit that works to address pressing community issues.
As part of the San Pablo Re-entry Program, Paraclete’s pastors are raising funding toward a down payment on a re-entry home on Sutter Ave. in San Pablo, as well as the organization’s first six months of programming.
According to Kinney, who also serves as Paraclete’s committee chair and director, the program has its eye on a five-bedroom house from seller Miguel Machado that has a perfect layout for their re-entry purposes. Aside from ample bedrooms, the currently-under-renovation house includes four remodeled bathrooms, an updated kitchen, an office and a large backyard that he thinks would be ideal for reuniting families.
“It’s a miracle house for us, a dream house…But, you know, we’re going to lose our opportunity if we don’t raise the money,” said Kinney.
According to Paraclete’s pastors, the re-entry house would be a place for someone who had been incarcerated to come and grow. A place where they could receive counseling, training and support that they can rely on in a clean and safe environment that is also safe. It would be fully furnished and food would be provided.
Kinney was moved to start Parclete’s San Pablo Re-entry Program after hearing recurring news reports about high prison populations and recidivism. According to Paraclete, approximately 540,000 inmates are released back into society annually, with 30 percent of inmates returning to prison within one year of their release. By year three, 75 percent are back behind bars. Simply stated, the majority of inmates are unprepared to live life outside of jail walls.
“As I started thinking about that and about some of these folks coming back to my city, I thought, ‘Lord, is there something that you want me to do?’” said Kinney in a video by Paraclete. As he prayed on it, he sensed the Lord call upon him to start a reentry program in San Pablo. His prayers were additionally answered when, out of the blue, he crossed paths with Machado, a house flipper with altruistic leanings who just-so-happened to have the perfect house for the project’s needs.
Kinney’s Apostle City Ministries is handling the fundraising for Paraclete while the organization awaits its final nonprofit designation from the IRS. To support the San Pablo Re-entry Program project with a donation by mid-February, click here. To check out a video about the San Pablo Re-entry Program, click here. Questions? Contact Paraclete.