History of WesTCORE
In early 2008, a few transitional housing providers – Life Transformation Centers, Karat Place and Forgiveness House – started meeting over coffee to discuss their common needs. Before long, Families of Incarcerated Individuals and HopeWorks were regular members of these get-togethers. They quickly realized their relationship should be more formal and settled on a collaboration of nonprofits, churches, and govenment groups that helped people re-entering society from incarceration in the Memphis area. Keeping the focus regional, they settled on the name – West Tennessee Coalition for Offender Re-Entry. The word “offender” was soon dropped from the name altogether, but WesTCORE was officially formed and a unique collaborative effort had been established.
The groups involved created membership levels and areas of focus – stable housing, career development, and support services, and started creating “Principles” that would guide their efforts. These became known as the Principles of Community-Based Re-Entry, which aimed to define re-entry as a specific service provided outside of incarceration, to push for funding to flow primarily to groups providing core services, to protect the clients and involve their families in re-entry planning, and to call for independent reviews of the programs.
Today, WesTCORE is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Organizations can either become Charter Members that pay dues, serve on committees, and have input into coalition business, or Resource Partners that collaborate with the coalition when appropriate. Learn more about our members here.