New home for recently released inmates

The Alpha Omega Residential Rehabilitation Home is now open in Iron Mountain.

Catholic Social Services of the U.P. and Marquette Catholic Bishop Alexander Sample held a blessing and dedication ceremony thursday afternoon.

Men who’ve just been released from the Dickinson County Jail will be able to stay there for 90 days at no cost.

Bishop Sample says the men staying there will be able to get a leg up on a new life, surrounded by the love and support that they need.

He says recent inmates often have nowhere to go when they’re released, and that often leads to repeat offenses.

Alpha Omega will help its residents find work, housing and transportation.

It’ll also point them to mental health and substance abuse services.

Deacon Don Christy, the founder and director of the house, says there’s no federal or state funding supporting the house at all.

The money is coming in from private donations.

The Salvation Army, faith communities and law enforcement have been very supportive of the project.

The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department will help determine who’ll stay there.

Sheriff Scott Celello says the department will form a list of men that they believe would be good candidates upon release from jail, and Deacon Don and the board of directors of the house would have the final say.

The house has eight beds, but not just any male inmates can fill them upon release.

No one with a sex offender record, an arson conviction or a felony assault conviction will be admitted.

Deacon Don also says the entire premise of the house is spirituality; he says if any of the men say they don’t want to have anything to do with God, the program won’t be for them.

Organizers are already talking about starting a women’s house nearby, as well as possibly expanding the concept to other areas of the U.P.