Ex-prisoners rebuild lives by rehabbing homes

Jubilee Project run by United Methodist Church
Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 18:16:40-04

CINCINNATI -- Vincent Stith Jr. is quickly becoming a master electrician. But he knows what happens when you get some wires crossed in your personal life, too: Stith has spent time in prison.

"It was the grace of God that put me in jail this time," Stith said. "If not, the way people are dying now I could be 6 feet under."

Stith was working Wednesday in Sedamsville, rewiring a whole house as part of the Jubilee Project. Run through the United Methodist Church, the program gives former prisoners a second chance to rebuild their lives by rehabbing old homes around the Tri-State.

"It's very difficult right when they get out to find an employer who can work with them," pastor Thomas Hargis said.

Hargis runs the Jubilee Project; he's also a former prison warden. The Jubilee Project is working with about 30 former prisoners, and there's even a waiting list.

"Especially as a pastor, you don't always see the fruits of your labor," Hargis said. "You see the fruits when you finish a tile floor.

Stith said he's been off heroin for 18 months and is now teaching others his skills. The home in Sedamsville will be finished in about two months, and there's already a neighborhood family ready to move in.

"That's taking something and giving it back the life and making it a little better than it was before," Hargis said.