September is National Recovery Month — a time to highlight issues surrounding addiction, abuse and the road to recovery. 

Rose of Sharon, a small, technicolored row of apartments tucked away off of Rose Road in Albertville, is a new ministry offering transitional housing for women who have gone through a recovery program and are now taking the next step toward turning their lives around.

Founded by Sharron Fortenberry, of Handfuls of Purpose — a nonprofit women’s recovery organization —  the five-unit complex was chosen by Keep Albertville Beautiful as its September Business of the Month.

“That was exciting because I didn’t ever even expect anything like that,” Fortenberry said. “We think it’s beautiful.”

 The ministry is located at 60 Lewis Avenue where the ill reputed S&W Trailer Park used to be. Fortenberry and her husband, Larry, bought the property with the God-given vision for Rose of Sharon in 2010. They had planned to officially open this year in April, but were delayed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

“It took it a while to come to be, but we’re really excited about it now,” Fortenberry said. “We’re new, so it’s taken a little bit to get people in.”

While they’ve been working with recovery programs in Alabama, Fortenberry said she’s also been reaching out to surrounding state’s for potential tenants.

“We’ve sent brochures out of state … because, in reality, the further they can get away from where their home buddies were, the better chance they have of being successful and making new friends,” she said.

The brightly-painted apartments contain nearly everything a person would need including a laundry room, bathroom, full kitchen, bedroom and living room area. Director Jordana Rowley said local churches and organizations have reached to help furnish and decorate each apartment so it would feel like home when a new resident arrives.

“People have really shown up to help out,” Rowley said.

Women seeking housing at the apartment complex will have to have graduated from a six-to-12-month recovery program and be recommended by their program director. Once accepted, a new tenant will receive help earning their GED, if needed, and finding a job. Tenants will also work with a financial planner who will help determine how much of their salary —  up to 30% — would go toward the $600 per month program fee. In addition to housing, Rose of Sharon offers Bible, cooking and nutrition classes as well as an on-site workout building. Fortenberry said tenants can reside at the apartments for up to three years and would be evaluated along the way to track their progress toward a new life.

“They come and just kind of get a restart in life,” she said. “We just want a well-rounded person when they leave here.”

Though the ministry focuses exclusively on women leaving rehab programs, Fortenberry said they can also serve as a resource for anyone needing help.

“We are being accredited through Alabama Association of Christian Recovery Ministries, and so we have a huge list of recovery programs that we can make a call and most of the time get them in somewhere fairly quick.”

The ministry was unable to hold a fundraiser this year due to COVID-19, and as a nonprofit, relies heavily on donations and community assistance, Fortenberry said. To support the ministry, visit handfulsofpurpose.net or call 256-849-0767.

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