SEARCHING 4 SOLUTIONS: Former inmates work to change lives


SHANNON HILLS, Ark. – Putting together a crib is a stark contrast from what Angela Houchin was doing just a few days ago.

“Phoenix House was gracious to take me in. I’ve only been there one day, but I love it already,” Houchin said. “There’s resources to help people like me and I’m going to take advantage of every bit of it.”

Houchin is now living at the Phoenix House. It’s a transitional housing facility for people getting out of prison. She just finished serving a prison sentence for drugs and for the first time, she went with her housemates to volunteer at the Healing Waters Outreach Center in Shannon Hills.

“This place is amazing, amazing because when you come out of prison, you don’t have nothing and you can’t go back to where you were before because you’re going to get the same outcome you’ve always had,” Houchin said. “To have people supporting you, really gives you hope for a new life.”

There was a time when Houchin didn’t have any hope.

“I’d been on heroin for a very long time. I didn’t believe in recovery. To me, it’s like Bigfoot. You hear about it, but you never see it,” she said.

She is hoping her time at the Phoenix House will drastically change her life, like it has already for Cassie Rose in the short time she has lived there.

Rose has been at the Phoenix House for three weeks. In that time, she has taken full advantage of all the resources and the opportunity to volunteer.

“Basically, anything that is going to help you get to the top, they’re there to help you with,” Rose said.

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