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'Their lives will be forever changed': New transitional home opens for women, children

Cristal Hill was tired of drugs.

A vicious addiction caused the loss of her son and daughter. They live with other families, Hill said.

She checked into The Lee & Krystyna Jamieson Recovery Home for Women and Children on Nov. 4, 2019 to break her substance abuse.

Hill graduated from the Recovery Home and will move into The Mission at Kern County’s Lee & Krystyna Jamieson Transitional Home for Women and Children, which had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning. About 14 women, with children ranging from newborns to 12 year olds, make the abode their residence this week, directors of The Mission at Kern County said.

"As women enter these doors, their lives will be forever changed," said Carlos Baldovinos, the executive director of The Mission. "They will continue to have hope, receive support and continue to break the cycle of addiction."

The newly opened location boasts 13 rooms, and houses 33 people at full capacity, Baldovinos said. The residents come from the Recovery Home, after an 18-month addiction recovery program, added Jaime Durham, the director of community development at The Mission.

Occupants receive an opportunity to save money and secure safe housing for up to one year at this new location, Durham added. They then can move out into society, Baldovinos said. 

Most importantly, these women have a stable home, said Krystna Jamieson, a benefactor and friend of The Mission. She recalled how Jessica Hernandez, five months pregnant, called the nonprofit for assistance. Hernandez lived in the Shafter orchards and had not seen a doctor throughout her pregnancy, Jamieson said.

She arrived at Monday’s ceremony, with 5-month-old son Malachi Hernandez.

"We're hoping to change that trajectory one life at a time," Jamieson said. "Let us pray that they can experience a new life — one that consists of the simple pleasures. ... We all dream of this for ourselves and for our own children. And now, let's dream of this for them."

Erika Lopez beamed as she carried her 6-month-old son Ezekiel Lopez during a tour of the house, and surveyed her new room.

"It’s just breathtaking," Lopez said. "(My kids) are going to be so happy. I just want to jump on the bed already."

Cristal Hill watched her 17-month-old baby, Sofia, squeal and run on the playground equipment outside The Mission. After abusive relationships and prison time, she finally found some solid footing. 

“It’s a day for new beginnings,” Hill said, tearing up. “I’ve never really had a place of my own.”

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.