Left to Right: Aaron Thompson HTP Homes CEO with trainee Al Jalloh

Left to Right: Aaron Thompson HTP Homes CEO with trainee Al Jalloh COURTESY OF CLAUDIA JONES

It’s estimated to cost about $38,000 per year to incarcerate an individual in America, a sum that includes a cell, three meals per day, perhaps a work assignment behind bars but no educational or life skills training to prepare prisoners for successful reentry.

Further, young people of color tend to receive longer prison sentences, which effectively wipes out a large portion of their lives, meaning they’ll receive little to no job training and education.

One organization is seeking to change the narrative. HTP Homes, Inc., a minority and woman owned tax exempt entity, provide skills-based on the job training in construction trades for jobless young adults from 17 to 24. Those include formerly incarcerated returning citizens.

The nonprofit began a crowdfunding campaign to help secure grant money from the USA Today/Gannett A Community Thrives program, which supports projects that contribute to community building with a preference for those impacting historically underserved individuals and groups.

The more than $2 million initiative allows organizations to apply to raise money for a specific project. Those chosen, work to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign, making them eligible for more than 100 grants.

More than a dozen grants are set for distribution ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. With support from donors, HTP Homes seek to raise the $64,500 needed to launch its skills training initiative in Baltimore. The “Building Second Chances” fundraiser will close on Oct. 16, 2020.

“Here people can make a difference. It may sound small to people, but it’s something that can grow; each one, teach one,” said Raymond P. Lewis, the principal at RP Lewis & Associates.

“We have a goal of $64,000, but think of what they can do with $164,000,” Lewis noted. “We are the richest country in the world with the largest number of inmates, and most are of color, and they never get a chance at an education or to vote.

Claudia Jones

Courtesy Photo HTP Homes, Inc., founder Claudia Jones

Aaron Thompson

Courtesy Photo HTP Homes, Inc., founder Aaron Thompson