The Renascence Re-Entry Project began in 1997 with a group of persons concerned, because of their involvement in various jail and prison programs, about the shortage of suitable community resources for ex-offenders in Montgomery. One of these people bought and donated to the Alabama Prison Project (a prisoner advocacy group) a Victorian boarding house in downtown Montgomery (215 Clayton St.) for use as a transitional home for men coming out of the state prison system. The project at first received some neighborhood resistance , but in June 1999 the City of Montgomery granted the required zoning variance.
In February 2002, with increasing community support, Renascence formed a new Board of Directors and became an independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Renascence purchased the house and property from the Alabama Prison Project, hired Jim Walden as Executive Director and in February 2003 moved its operations to offices there. During 2004 and 2005, Renascence also purchased adjacent properties to be used for gardening and additional parking space.
Between 2004 and 2006, Jim was joined on the staff by Ms. Shelagh Morrison, Mr. Dereck Wise, and Ms. Dana Dunklin. Supporting the project has been a diverse, competent Board of Directors, many committed volunteers, and growing community involvement.
From 1999 to 2006 the house was renovated. Volunteers at 18 workdays did internal demolition and general cleanup. Much of the roof was repaired or replaced. The exterior was repaired and repainted. In 2005 and 2006, major internal renovation was carried out thanks to two successive HUD HOME Funds granted through the City of Montgomery.
In September 2006, Renascence began providing transitional shelter and supportive services to residents. The house can accommodate up to 12 men at a time.