For years, Crysti Akerly has struggled with addiction.

"I've been an addict since I was 18-years-old," said Akerly. "Being on drugs really drives you down and holds you back."

After receiving help through treatment court, Akerly is now receiving assistance from the Mercy Center for Women.

"It's exciting and exhilarating and freeing," said Akerly. "I don't have a ball and chain on me anymore."
Akerly is one of the first tenants to move into the Mercy Anchor Community Center.

The 39,000 square foot complex provides transitional housing to women and children who are facing homelessness.

In addition to 13 new apartments, the building feature a gymnasium, fitness center, and a Dress for Success location to provide women with clothing for job interviews and employment.

"When we were bringing our thoughts and ideas together for this building, we asked our clients what do we need to improve upon and that's their healthcare and their mental health," said Mercy Center for Women executive director Jennie Hagerty. "It's a huge need."

The building will also offer GED classes and work readiness programs.

"It's been helping me move along and take my own footsteps, so I can be able to thrive and be where I am today," said Akerly. "I'm actually going places and doing things."

The Mercy Anchor Community Center are providing women like Akerly with a new sense of hope.

"I couldn't ask for a better program to be in," said Akerly. "If it wasn't for the Mercy Center, I don't know where I would be."

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.