Rogers, Ark. (KNWA) — Hundreds of women are trying to get into a transitional housing program in Rogers. For many of these women who have been abused or homeless, this program provides them with their first-ever stable home.
Saving Grace NWA co-founder Becky Shaffer knows what it’s like to have nowhere to go.
“I grew up in a really abusive and violent home,” she said. “I felt like I had no one. I didn’t have anybody that I could depend on and I knew I couldn’t go home.”
It is one of the reasons she even decided to go away to college. But even there, the dorms closed down for winter break.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I ended up pregnant and married by Christmas, in that order, and part of that was purely out of survival,” she said.
It worked out. She is still married to that man today. But it wasn’t easy and she is not alone. So she created Saving Grace NWA.
“They’ve never had a voice,” Saving Grace NWA director of development Cherri Rodriguez said. “They’ve never gotten to say I matter and I have dreams too.”
Saving Grace NWA serves as a transitional housing program for up to 12 women at a time. And the demand for a spot is through the roof.
“Since 2010, we’ve had about 600 applicants,” Shaffer said.
It is more than just transitional housing, giving young women a second family of sorts.
“Sometimes it’s the first time they’ve ever slept in a bed. Sometimes it’s the first time they’ve ever had a job or anyone in their family has ever had a job,” Shaffer said.
It all starts with an interview.
“We get to say, “What can we do for you? How can we help you succeed? What are your dreams?”” Rodriguez said.
Whether it is college, starting a career or just learning to live on their own, Saving Grace NWA keeps these women on track.
“We just really believe that God has put a dream in every heart and we want to help those dreams come out and be realized,” Rodriguez said.
Saving Grace is looking for land to expand. It hopes to eventually serve 50 girls at a time instead of 12.
For more on the program and how to get involved, click here.