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Raleigh's Mission House Helps Some Women Build A Future

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RALEIGH — Programs to help women who live on the streets, do drugs or are out of prison are few and far between. Fifteen months ago, Gloria Lowe had a vision to help these women -- today that vision is thriving.

Leola, Norris, TJ and Annette are learning how to be responsible. They live at the Mission House, a Raleigh women's shelter.

"I was mad, I had a lot of anger," says resident Annette Thomas. "For about two months it was everybody's fault that I was in prison except for mine. But I was the main key player, it was my fault that I was there."

"I guess fear had a lot to do with it, no trust in nobody," says resident Leola Black. "I didn't trust nobody."

Three of the women are mothers, three have been in prison, and they all have had problems with alcohol and drugs.

"I saw this guy that I used to use with," says resident Norris Harris, "when he saw me he said, 'Hey Norris, how are you doing?' I said, 'I'm doing OK.' He said to me, 'You got it together, huh?'"

"I've always had a desire to help women," says Lowe, who started Mission House with funding from churches. "I feel very grateful and hopeful, excited and anxious for the individuals that have turned their lives around."

"If I take one day at a time, I have the rest of my life to accomplish some of the things that I want to accomplish," says resident Theola Jones.

While women are in the program at Mission House, they must work and pay a weekly rent. They can stay in the house from six to 18 months. Thirty-two women have gone through the program since it started in early 1998.