Nonprofit Rebuilds From Fire That Destroyed Building Housing Men in Recovery

The community, program participants, and graduates of the faith-based recovery program celebrated the newly rebuilt facility Sunday

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South Dallas nonprofit Men of Nehemiah is rebuilding after someone set fire to the group's residential building just over a year ago.

The group provides homeless and formerly incarcerated men with residential accommodations designed to help rebuild their lives.

Men living in the apartments lost the only stable home they’ve ever known, their toiletries, Bibles and everything inside the building after the fire.

Men of Nehemiah executive director Louis Harrell remembered that day in October 2020.

“He just started breaking windows, and then smoke started coming out. Of course, we called law enforcement,” Harrell said.

The newly rebuilt facility can house up to 68 men taking part in the nine-month recovery program.

Michael Lakes graduated Sunday from the program after he said he spent 40 years in and out of prison, feeling hopeless.

“I have a lot of courage now, and I have the hope I didn’t have,” Lakes said.

He said he shot his abusive step-father when he was 12 years old and battled drug addiction until he joined the Men of Nehemiah. 

“Anybody that’s broken, you embrace them back to life and let them know they do count, that’s a beautiful thing,” Lakes said.

The Men of Nehemiah will move into their new apartments this week.

The group has established an Amazon wish list to help outfit its newly-renovated residential center.

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