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Through a generous gift, local ministry The Ark will begin offer a 12-month residential program for women about two years ahead of schedule.

Jeff Peacock, The Ark executive director, said the program will begin Monday and is similar to the men’s program the ministry has operated for years.

“It’s a 12-month program for women transitioning out of homelessness, addiction, or out of prison,” he said. “(During) the first four to six months, we take them through a discipleship program – a Bible study – to give them a good foundation. We help them get their GED (general education development diploma). We help them get their ID, a driver’s license if possible. Then we help them get jobs or go to school.”

Once the residents are employed, they can stay with the program for another six to 12 months in order to give them time to “get on their feet,” Peacock added.

Ministry officials had planned on launching the women’s program two years from now, but John Watson donated some building space that could house between 25 and 30 women to the ministry, Peacock said. That allowed The Ark staff to move forward with the idea and provide the staffing this summer.

The ministry has processed about 10 applications for the women’s residential program so far. Those selected will be able to move in Monday, Peacock said.

The building, located away from The Ark’s downtown campus, formerly housed the New Bridges program. The Ark will provide transportation for the women to help them adhere to the program’s regulations.

In addition to the residential programs, The Ark has operated a food bank and sack lunch program that has benefitted men and women of all ages, Peacock said.

Follow Jeremy Wise on Twitter @DEwiseTrojan.

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