RENSSELAER, Ind. (WLFI) - This May will mark four years since St. Joseph's College declared suspended operations, but the college is taking steps to bring life back to its campus.
The campus has graduated 21 people from its medical certificate programs. Now St. Joseph's College is partnering with a women's addiction recovery organization to provide housing.
"It's been so exciting," said Tammy Tidd, Founder of House of Grace. "God knows what he is doing."
The collaboration between St. Joseph's College and House of Grace seems like a story of fate. Tidd started House of Grace in Thorntown in 2017. It's a faith-based addiction recovery program for women centered around drug and alcohol abuse. It is a safe place for women coming out of jail or prison and is Indiana Affiliation of Recovery Residents certified.
She wanted to open a new recovery home in Rensselaer.
"I felt that I needed to bring something up in that area because I had applications for people up north and I've been wanting to expand," she said.
So she began the search for a house in the Rensselaer area, but found the search difficult since she would be paying for it herself. It was Jasper County Sheriff Patrick Williamson who connected Tidd with SJC.
"We have a lot of residential apartments that are available and open and ready for use," said Beth Graf, spokesperson for St. Joseph's College.
They worked out a deal to let House of Grace use several apartments an empty apartment building to open a new recovery house. All House of Grace had to do was be able to furnish the apartments and find house managers to live with those in their program.
"This has given us such a huge opportunity to grow in ways we never thought about or dreamt," said Tidd.
"We are so happy that they decided to bring a house to Rensselaer," said Graf. "What House of Grace is doing with recovery is exactly in line with our mission. Our mission is to help the underserved."
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2019. Tidd said the pandemic in 2020 has taken a toll on those suffering from addiction.
"Those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, it's easy for them to run to that when they are struggling with what's going on around them," she said.
St. Joseph's College will provide them with a safe place to continue their road to recovery and even to provide opportunities for their futures.
"Once they reach the point in their recovery progress where they are able, we hope they would be able to take one of our classes, better themselves and maybe get a certificate," said Graf. "Make them able to get jobs."
Tidd said most of the women she serves have a high school diploma, but some don't, which they work with them to get their GED. She said steady employment and financial security is an essential part of making sure the women can take care of themselves, their families and ultimately stay on the right path once they have left the program.
She said the partnership is a match made in Heaven. They already have some women moved and starting their recovery journey on SJC's campus
"St. Joe opening up their college and wanting us there, I do believe that God's directed that and this lays us in a place where were going to be able to help more women," she said.