The Peoria Home Story
Peoria Home was founded in 2014 by Paula Newman-Skomski, ARNP Forensic Nurse Examiner. As a forensic nurse Paula was providing services to both teen and adult women surviving in prostitution on the streets here in Snohomish County. Through this work and participating in the Sexual Exploitation Intervention Network for Snohomish County, it became apparent that there were no services available to address the needs for this population of women.
Peoria Home became her vision to remove barriers for women who have been trafficked and have records of criminal prostitution, to begin their journey to healing and freedom.
We are a best practice, community-based residential model where residents and graduates of our programs experience transformative, sustainable change through long-term, rent-free housing, treatment, case management, education, training, and employment.
Our program is modeled after our very successful sister community Thistle Farms/Magdalene House in Nashville, TN. The Magdalene program was established in 1997 by Episcopalian Priest, Becca Stevens, with one home housing 4 women. Their social enterprise, Thistle Farms, was established in 2001 to provide job training for the women and program financial support.
Our name comes from Peoria, Illinois, where President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech that was a turning point in his political career and the beginning of the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery as we knew it at that time. We see the name “Peoria” as a symbol for a turning point in a woman’s life and the beginning of her journey to freedom from exploitation and addiction.
We believe, as Becca does, that it takes “a community of broken systems to put women on the streets and it takes a community to lift them back off the streets.” We hope that you will join our community to lift women up to a life of freedom.