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Kansas City woman turns her life around thanks to Second Chance program

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Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 20:57:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Emma Guthrie is a prime example of just how influential the Second Chance program can be for someone who is willing to put in the work.

Second Chance is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission and helps people who have been incarcerated get back on their feet and stay on the right track.

Guthrie spent the last few years battling homelessness, addiction recovery and being on probation.

She desperately needed to find housing after being in a temporary housing program for two years. Through her probation officer, she got connected with the Second Chance program.

With only two weeks to find housing, she worked quickly with the agency to complete everything they needed from her.

"It's actually pretty simple. You just have to put in the work," Guthrie said.

Even with three evictions and two felony convictions, Guthrie was able to secure a home to rent thanks to Second Chance.

"It gave me the confidence that I can really be successful," she said. "I knew that in the back of my mind, but having somebody back you like that really helped."

Brittany Peterson, lead resource specialist with Second Chance, said the criminal justice system is set up for people to fail and fall back into the cycle of crime.

Nationally, about 67% of people return to incarceration. In Missouri, it's about 44%.

Peterson said at the Second Chance program, it's less than 5% of participants.

"We want to reduce the barriers that cause people to return to incarceration. We meet every participant where they are at," Peterson said.

Guthrie said she'll always be grateful to Second Chance for helping her and her two daughters live a better life.

She wants others going through the same battle to know there is help standing by, and all it takes is a simple phone call.

"That's the hardest thing to get over, that pride, that sense of pride about asking for help," Guthrie said. "You know it's okay, it is, and I wouldn't be where I'm at today if I wouldn't have reached out."