‘I woke up in tears’: Tulsan champions SAFE home for former incarcerated women

June 23, 2023

by John Hayes, KTUL staff in Tulsa, Okla, Full article here

Nia’s Place

A Tulsa woman said she’s thankful for the support she’s received with opening for a Sisterhood Alliance for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) home in the city.

D’Marria Monday is the Executive Director of Block Builderz, and said that the project had been years in the making.

In addition to Monday, Oklahoma Representative Regina Goodwin spoke at the event as well as the Founder of A New Way of Life, Susan Burton.

“When I came home from prison, it was a struggle,” said Monday. “It was a struggle to find housing, and because of my struggles I wanted to help other women.”

Monday said her path to helping create a space for former incarcerated women to stay after being released has been an uphill battle.

She said she had applied for various grants, and been denied for the effort.

She said all it took was one approval to make what had been a decade-long dream a reality.

“To see it coming together, I woke up in tears this morning,” said Monday.

Oklahoma has the third highest imprisonment rate in the country, 106 out of every 100,00 female Oklahomans are incarcerated.

Monday said she believes that a lack of stable housing is more than likely to land women who have fallen on hard times right back where they started.

“Housing is…it’s a basic need and yet it’s so hard to attain when you come home from prison.” said Monday.

Monday said the new home includes three bedrooms, a kitchen and living space for up to six women at a time.

She said that she and her partners had yet to secure women to live in the home, but are well prepared to welcome them when they do come.

“We’ll have a licensed social worker and we also have a wellness coach and so we’re just here ready and waiting to welcome women,” said Monday.

***Both Nia’s Place and EXPO are part of the National network A NEW WAY OF LIFE