Grant will bolster W House

December 19, 1997


Staff Writer

A state grant will prevent the only halfway house for women in Western Maryland from shutting down, officials said Thursday.

The W House in Hagerstown will receive $43,142 from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, said Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The grant will be matched by $23,000 in local private donations.

"This means we can count on our funding and stay open until June," said W House Director Christina Trenton.

W House helps women addicted to drugs or alcohol become productive members of society.

The program is operated by the Washington County Health Department's Jail Substance Abuse Treatment Program.

W House has received grants from the Governor's Office for three years, said Charlie Messmer, project coordinator for the program.

Because there were so many requests for grants this year, the program was in danger of being cut, he said.


"They felt it was very important, which makes me happy," he said.

It fits well with the governor's statewide "Break the Cycle" initiative, launched earlier this month.

Women who go from jail to the W House are three times less likely to return to crime three years after they are released, officials said.

About 25 to 30 women are treated each year at the nine-bed shelter, founded in 1988 by Margaret Wadill.

Its success rate is 75 percent to 85 percent, Trenton said.

W House has been under financial strain this year since the organization took out a $50,000 mortgage on its nine-bed house at 37 E. Antietam St., Trenton said.

In addition to the state grant, W House is funded by United Way and private donations, she said.

The agency would like to raise enough money for an endowment that would secure its future, she said.

W House plans to apply for the state grant again next year, Messmer said.

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