Frequently Asked Questions
What are reentry skills?
Men who have been in prison or jail lack basic living skills, so we teach them how to do things like laundry, opening a checking account, using a computer, and searching for a job—things most of us take for granted that they need to successfully reenter society.
Is Hawkes Home a success?
A resounding yes! A proven success. Now in our 7thyear of operation, we have helped over 300 men change their lives to become productive members of society. Of all those men, we know of only one who landed back in prison. And he is heartbroken about it, as are we.
How can such a small organization do so much?
We started out with a huge advantage. Because our founders also started McIntyre House 22 years ago (now a highly successful and recognized rehabilitation facility) in Los Angeles, we took advantage of the significant learnings from that endeavor.
How does Hawkes Home do it?
We create a home, something most previously incarcerated men (our clients) never had. Hawkes Home is for all purposes a real home with a Manager who acts as a parent or older sibling, guiding and overseeing everything in the home. Hawkes Home is a positive force where the members of our family help each other while they carry out the demands that being a member of the home entails, i.e., doing a daily chore, getting a job, paying fees.
Is that all you do?
No, there’s much more. The most important things we teach the men are accountability and responsibility. The entire household meets once a month to update each other on how they are doing, share information that may help others in the home, and generally get updated on what is happening and stay accountable. We plan activities for the whole group to do together because developing social skills is also an important part of this process.
Why does your organization emphasize “home”?
We’ve learned that most men in prison have a longing for a home because it is something most of them never had. In our “home”, they have each other to turn to as one would in a normal household along with a manager that keeps them on track. Others there have been through what newer clients are going through and help them, which in turn helps the helper. It’s a win for all involved.
Why can’t these men do this on their own?
Men who have spent many years in jail or prison can find reentering society overwhelming. When they are released from prison, they are given very little help to reenter society. Without help, they naturally go back to the people and neighborhoods that got them into trouble in the first place. They made bad decisions to begin with so they need a guiding hand to help them see better options. And they need to do this away from old haunts and connections.
Why do say that Hawkes Home saves?
Because we save lives. We save families. We save money. And we save communities by making them stronger, healthier, and safer.
Do you take anyone who wants to stay at Hawkes Home?
No we don’t. With the limited amount of space we have, we cannot afford to waste a bed. That’s why we only take men who are serious about changing their lives. We have a good vetting process which is part of the reason we are so successful. Keeping a positive environment is part of our formula for success, so anyone who does not adhere to the rules clients sign onto before entering Hawkes Home (sobriety, nonviolence, daily chore, obtaining employment) will be asked to leave.
What is your formula?
Hawkes Home shows previously incarcerated men in a real and practical way that there is another way to live, one of responsibility and accountability. We show them that they ARE able to do things they did not think they could. And we give them confidence because we give them HOPE.
What makes Hawkes Home different from other transitional housing?
We operate with heart. That’s a game changer. We provide a positive and supportive environment where our clients can get on their feet and begin living a new life. It is unfortunate but true that most other sober living or transitional living spaces are not clean (meaning the clients use drugs), offer no support or guidance, and seem primarily interested in making money off the men. In such a depressing environment, the men feel trapped and hopeless and end up returning to jail or prison.
How long has Hawkes Home been in operation?
Almost 7 years. We opened our doors in January 2013.
What problems have you faced or do you now face?
We really have only one: our house is too small to hold all the men who need our help. We are constantly forced to turn men away, men we know we can help. And that’s frustrating. Because if we had more space or another house, we know we could help them. Our program would work in any city or state in the country. If we had the housing, we would love to be all over the US. But for now, we will settle for a second home.
What are the terms for a previously incarcerated man to enter Hawkes Home?
First, he must have a sincere desire to change. Then, before entering Hawkes Home he must sign an agreement to: obtain employment, behave appropriately, maintain proper hygiene, complete daily chores, remain sober, attend at least two AA/NA meetings/week, submit to random drug testing, meet curfew, attend all House Meetings, and understand there is zero tolerance of drugs, alcohol, weapons, or violence.
How can the public help?
If you can donate towards our capital campaign, we can open a second house (which we know we can fill tomorrow). We are close to our goal, but still need $150,000. Any contribution is appreciated. Or if you or someone you know has a property to donate, let’s talk!--(760) 639-9892
Is purchasing another house really worth it?
The cost of housing in California is expensive, but the cost of incarceration is much greater. That’s because incarceration does not only affect the men who are incarcerated; it deeply affects their families, too—their parents, siblings, spouses, and children all bear the stigma and effects of being connected to someone in prison or jail. The families know the heartache of watching their loved one get out of prison or jail only to go back again, over and over. Because that is what happens when the previously incarcerated get no help when they are released: they go back to what they know and get in trouble again.
Why should I help a criminal?
Here are three good reasons:
- The simple humanity of helping others.
Circumstances play a large part in these men’s lives. Almost all come from families of abuse and neglect; some grew up with entire families of substance abusers. Some made a bad decision. Who of us hasn’t? Or as our founder often cites, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. These men made mistakes, paid for those mistakes in jail or prison, and are now sincerely trying to get it right this time.
Helping someone stay out of prison or jail saves money. It costs taxpayers $65,000 per inmate per year. That’s a staggering amount. Consider if that person, rather than being a tax drain on our economy, was instead a taxpayer. And what if his family was healthier and could contribute more to society, too—wouldn’t that be better for everyone? (The answer is YES!)
- It makes our communities safer.
With previously incarcerated men transitioned into productive citizens, they are obviously no longer committing crimes. Additionally, they are proof to other formerly incarcerated men that living clean and productive lives are possible, thus decreasing the crime population even further.
Why do you need the money upfront to purchase a house—why not just mortgage it?
We are a small and sustainable program as long as a mortgage is not included in the scenario. Part of what we learned from opening two other nonprofits prior to Hawkes Home is that a mortgage works against the organization; it can actually be its demise.
Hawkes Home is self-sustaining because our clients pay fees to live here, do chores to keep the property habitable, and maintain the property themselves (painting, upgrades, etc.). Consequently, we operate in the black every year. If we had to carry a mortgage, that could affect things, especially the stability of our home. Since stability is crucial to our program, we need to be debt free from the start.