Clean Slate Coalition was formed in 2010 in response to the experience of chaplains in the local women’s jail. The chaplains observed that women were returning to incarceration time after time, having no safe place to live and rebuild their lives. A coalition of community and church leaders began working to establish a safe transitional housing program for these women and others who had experienced traumatic life circumstances. The Clean Slate house, located in Sylva NC opened in 2011 and serves up to six women at a time who commit to a year long recovery program while addressing their individual needs.
During their time at the Clean Slate house women from all backgrounds and of all ages work, go to school, volunteer in the community, acquire life skills, engage in mental health counseling, recovery groups and vocational training. They also participate in enrichment activities including yoga, meditation, art, journaling, cooking and gardening. Those with young children are able to visit and begin the process of reuniting with children from whom they may have been separated. The great majority of women served at Clean Slate are survivors of sexual assault or other traumas as children or young adults. Learning life skills, healthy living habits and living in a supportive community, these women often experience real safety for the first time in their lives.