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Wellsprings, Inc.

Wellsprings, Inc. was founded in 1988 by two Dominican Sisters - Sister Rita Owens and Sister Justin Farinella. After researching the availability of services for women who needed more than emergency shelter, they found there was a desperate need for stable, residential environments for women 30-50 years of age, without children in their care.

They envisioned a setting that would give women the opportunity to become self-sufficient - to become empowered by increasing  their income level through job skills training and educational programs, as well as increasing their self worth and self determination. In time, these tools would break the cycle of homelessness, abuse, poverty, addiction and illiteracy. During the late 1980s and the 1990s, Wellsprings provided services to transitionally homeless women through five homes that were eventually sold. In 1996, Wellsprings added another facet to its program services and began to provide rental assistance and supportive services to women with or without children in a scattered site setting, through grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In July 2004, the agency purchased a three-acre tract of land, to establish an on-site transitional residence program, "Wellsprings Village." There are currently two homes on the site, each able to house eight women. These women are often fleeing domestic violence situations or recovering from the devastation caused by substance abuse, poverty or illiteracy.

"For some women living in Wellsprings Village, this is the first real 'home' they have ever had," said Executive Director Valerie Beckham., "And for others it can be their first opportunity to take some serious time to address their personal issues and work on breaking destructive habits and cycles that have ultimately resulted in their homelessness."

In the summer of 2005, Wellsprings approached HomeAid Houston about helping them complete the residential portion of their Village, by constructing their remaining six homes. When Ameriquest Mortgage partnered with HomeAid after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and construction funds became available for agencies willing to house evacuees for up to 24 months, Wellsprings became the recipient of a portion of those construction funds.

The homes are a simple design - four bedrooms and four bathrooms, for eight women and a common living and dining area, kitchen, laundry facility and study. When construction is complete, 48 new beds will have been added to the Wellsprings Village by HomeAid Houston. Builder Captains David Weekley Homes and Tilson Home Corporation are partnering to build the Wellsprings campus.

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