The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

August 3, 2010

Sisters to open Enid halfway house for women leaving prison

ENID — After 16 months of work, sisters Shirley Taylor and Alma Middleton are ready to open their vision — Agnes House, a halfway house for women leaving prison or trying to stay out of prison.

“It is a transitional house for women struggling to stay out of prison or just out of prison,” Middleton said. “We have room for six ladies to stay for six months and possibly longer if needed.”

Agnes House will offer counseling classes in several areas and is a faith-based program. The mission of Agnes House is to assist with temporary shelter, help enhance social adjustments and develop life skills. Middleton and Taylor have experience in rehabilitation services and child development.

An open house will be 1-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the public to see the remodeled property at 422 and 424 E. Walnut. Agnes House will open for business at the end of August or beginning of September.

Taylor and Middleton’s idea of a service to help the community started before the property was even purchased.

“Someone was doing some painting for me,” Middleton said. “He told me he got a call this property (where the Agnes House is located) had gone down. I told him to take me by to look at it. It was very cheap. I called my sister and we talked about it and decided to purchase the property. We had already talked about doing something for the community. We decided this would be the best.”

Agnes House is named after their mother, Agnes.

When the property was purchased, there were two buildings in extreme disrepair. One of the buildings housed three small apartments. One of the apartments had to be demolished, while the other two were converted back into one house. After 16 months of intense work, Agnes House is ready to open for business. The interior of the buildings are decorated with items donated by the community.

“The community has really helped out a lot. They have really been great,” Middleton said.

She said they still are looking for one twin-sized bed and mattress for a room in the new facility.

Agnes House has received assistance from Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma, United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma, Our Daily Bread, Bill and Sherry Shaw, along with the community at large.

For information, call Taylor at 233-3683 or Middleton at 237-5149.

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