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KC Redemption offers 'New Beginnings' for ex-offenders

Posted at 8:58 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 16:23:33-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Starting over is a tough task for people coming home from prison.

Department of Corrections numbers show nearly 44 percent of people released from prison in Missouri will be reincarcerated.

A local organization, KC Redemption, is looking to change that, giving released inmates a second chance at life.

At 31st Street and Woodland Avenue, after two years of being vacant, an old house will soon be home to 11 men.

The transitional home, called "New Beginnings," will be a safe place for ex-offenders who are trying to turn their life around after their release.

"We talk about people going to prison all the time, but what is the recovery," KC Redemption founder, Mark Byrd said. " What is the way out ? what do they have? You have to give someone something to stand on to be productive in society."

The home isn't just for men who were just released, it also serves as prevention from jail. For people like Bernard Johnson.

He said he was once homeless after moving away from home to keep himself from getting into bad situations and getting locked up. Moving from state to state, he later met with Byrd.

With New Beginnings and KC Redemption's programs, he said he is receiving the help to stay on the right path.

"What they doing is, they're sharpening my character and making me more humble, keeping me accountable, 'cause I've never been really accountable," Johnson said.

The home is just one of three transitional homes created by KC Redemption.

The nonprofit helps people find permanent housing and jobs.

"It's a holistic approach of changing people's lives," Byrd said.

Ezekial Estrada is the house manager of "New Beginnings" with a special tie to the special organization.

"I've done 12 years myself," Estrada said. "I've battled addiction, battled gangs, but the Lord brought me out of that and I want to give back to society."

He hopes this new house can replicate results like the other two homes, which have helped more than 40 people into permanent housing and job placement.

Since the start of the KC Redemption, more than 400 people have been assisted. Byrd also started the New Reflections Technical Institute, which has been around since 2014.

The institute offers several technical courses, including CDL training. Byrd said the programs help to establish economic and educational growth that promotes positive reflection of oneself.

The organization is currently looking for donations for "New Beginnings" transitional home and the men it'll serve. Beds, suits, ties, coats and monetary donations are currently needed. To learn more on how to donate, click here.

Next year, the goal is to have an all women's transitional home for women who have been recently released.