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Program Overview

Located in Santa Cruz County, the Gemma Program offers structured, transitional housing for women within a residential home setting. The Gemma Program provides intensive case management services to support sustained recovery and reentry into the community. Through a blend of structured living, 24-hour staff support, and individual autonomy, residents receive guidance in life skills, decision-making, and problem-solving to navigate the challenges of reentry. Emphasizing self-awareness, personal responsibility, and wise use of resources, the program targets habitual behavior patterns to prevent relapse and promote long-term success.

Eligible participants can apply for up to 18 months of residency, with no minimum stay requirement. There is no immediate cost to enter the program. Once residents gain employment, they contribute 60% of their income to rent, with half saved in an incentive account.

What You Can Expect

  • Daily support and mentorship from House Managers and peers
  • Daily chores and family-style dinners focused on healthy eating and budgeting
  • Weekly activities including money management and budgeting, therapy, case coordination, and weekly workshops
  • Weekly house meetings emphasizing communal living and expressing needs
  • Engagement in volunteer and community activities
  • Job preparation, education, or vocational program enrollment
  • Attendance at recovery support meetings
  • Management of physical and behavioral health needs
  • Communication with Court, Probation, CPS or Sheriff's office as required
  • Daily practice of behavioral change and growth modeling

Structured Program

Gemma Transitional House offers a phased system, allowing residents to progress at their pace. This ensures tailored support for individual goals and needs throughout their stay, and residents can graduate at any stage upon meeting personal and programmatic goals.

Financial Stability

Residents contribute 60% of their income towards rent, with half saved in an incentive account. These funds are then made payable directly to the landlord of the graduate's subsequent safe and stable housing upon successful completion of the program. Additionally, budgeting and money management classes equip participants with vital financial skills for post-graduation success.

Communal Support

Skilled 24-hour staff provide compassionate guidance for residents. Emphasis on self-awareness and accountability empowers them to navigate reentry challenges and break free from harmful behavior patterns alongside like-minded women.

Gemma Day Program

Gemma staff provide in-custody programming for women incarcerated in Santa Cruz County. The program is designed to provide in-custody education and case management services, and support women as they transition into the community. Women enrolled in the Gemma Day Program are eligible to apply for the Gemma Transitional Home for services and housing upon release from custody. Gemma staff work closely with the local law enforcement entities to ensure a safe transition from the jail to Gemma’s transitional home.

Reflections From Past Clients

  • I'm a Better Human Being
    "While I was visualizing the Gemma house last night, it because so clear just how much I’ve grown as a person since then. I’m a better human being, greater support to the people who depend on me and a pillar in my community. I owe a part of that to the Gemma house."

    - Former Client
  • Set Up For the Future
    "The support and love, and structure I was shown at Gemma completely changed my life, and set me up for a future beyond my wildest dreams."

    - Former Client
  • Connected to the Community
    "New Life and its sister program, the Gemma House, have improved our community for decades, and continue to do so. The Gemma house has some of the highest percentages of clients who do not reoffend after completing the program. Both programs have caring, dedicated employees and use evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care. New Life and Gemma work with other programs in the community, such as the sheriff's office, which allows staff to take a holistic approach towards client care and connecting clients to as many community resources as possible. Santa Cruz is a better place because of New Life and Gemma House."

    – Gemma House Employee

Gemma aims to support participants reintegrate into the community after incarceration, breaking the cycle of recidivism.

Does Gemma seem like the right fit? 
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What is the cost of our program?

Our program cost is based on the income of our clients. Residents do not pay rent when they enter the program. Once they begin working or receiving another form of income, they pay 60% of that income to the program. Half of each rent payment goes into a savings account and the client will receive the sum upon successful completion of the program.

What kind of program is Gemma?

Gemma is a residential re-entry and recovery program for women. Women that are justice-involved and/or dealing with a substance abuse disorder reside in the home and work closely with staff to build a foundation for integration back into the community.

Who qualifies for Gemma?

Any woman that is currently or previously justice-involved and/or who has a substance abuse disorder is eligible for services at the Gemma House. Clients may come to Gemma from the jail, the community, other treatment centers, or sober living environments.

What is evidenced based, gender responsive and trauma inform care?

The programming and care that we provide at gemma is based in research and always in consideration of how trauma and gender impacts our clients.

How does one apply to Gemma

Please fill out the pre-fill section on this webpage to be connected to our intake coordinator. You can also call our number at (831)334-2111

What are the requirements while in program?

Clients are expected to perform daily chores and take care of the Gemma House, cook meals together 5 nights a week, attend evening programming 5 nights a week, work with a sponsor, attend recovery meetings each week, and attend individual therapy each week.

How long is the Gemma Program?

Residents can choose to stay in the house for up to 18 months, however there is no minimum length of stay.
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