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The Life House beats odds, continues to serve as safe healing place for women

Posted at 7:31 AM, Jan 18, 2023

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — An East Cleveland recovery home, The Life House, is back open, providing women a safe space to heal through love. The home is currently the only space of its kind in the city of East Cleveland.

“We were open five years prior. Then, we shut down for a couple of years and we’ve been open again for a year,” said founder, Pastor Debra Wilson. “Trying to just keep the doors open sometimes has been a real struggle, but we’re still here. We’re still here and we’re planning on staying.”

Wilson funds the home and faith-based organization with her personal money. Local resource organizations help through partnerships by offering services as needed.

Over the years, Life House has housed 54 women ages 18 and up. It currently houses just a few women.

“We’ve found a lot of people still going through mental challenges and they feel like they have to struggle in silence when they really don’t have to,” Wilson said. “The larger organizations, of course, they get most of the people, but we kind of catch the trickle-down ones, you know we’re still right here catching them.”

This support net continues to prove crucial to its community. Its mission to restore broken women through mentoring, support, teaching self-love and new life skills is what Life House House Manager Anita Dorsey Jones says she once lacked.

“I’ve seen a piece of myself in every one of these [women]. I have not been addicted to drugs. I have not been an alcoholic, but I have been abused mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’ve been broken in places…I can relate,” she said. “When I needed help, there wasn’t much help around. So, I always said, 'Well Lord, if I ever get the opportunity, this is what I’m going to do.'”

Wilson, who was ordained about seven years ago, believes her faith brought the vision and purpose to serve women like Anita and many others in need. Her goal is to expand and to continue changing lives by first changing their perspectives.

“I have had my struggles, [but] God will use what we’ve been through to help us advance and help us reach other people,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s about what you believe…It’s a blessing.”

To help and donate to The Life House, email