Dismas House in Hartford Kicks off Capital Campaign

Hartford — Hartford Dismas House will kick off a capital campaign with a free celebration next Sunday, from 4-6 p.m., at the Wilder Center. It will be the first public event for Hartford Dismas, a nonprofit organization that will provide housing and other support for men and women transitioning to the community from prison.

The capital campaign will support the Hartford Dismas program, including the renovation of 1673 Maple St. into a 10-person home. Significant funding support for a Dismas House in Hartford has been secured, but about $325,000 more is needed to complete the project, Jan-Roberta Tarjan, executive director of Dismas of Vermont, said in a news release last week.

Hartford Dismas was initially expected to open last month, but an appeal filed by the Revs. Lani and Kathy Janisse, co-pastors at nearby Praise Chapel, held up the process. In October, the Vermont Environmental Court upheld the unanimous approvals the project had received from the Hartford Zoning and Planning boards. The house, which is now expected to open in December, will have room for eight released inmates and two live-in volunteers.

The umbrella organization Dismas of Vermont Inc. also has houses in Burlington, Winooski and Rutland.

A former resident is expected to speak on Sunday about his time at Dismas and its influence on his life, Tarjan said in an email. Also, C. Daniel Hershenson, the attorney who provided free legal defense for Hartford Dismas in the court case, will be honored, and the Hartford Dismas board introduced. State Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Bethel, will provide music for the event, which will also feature refreshments, displays and a quilt raffle.

The snow date is March 10. To RSVP, contact Hartford Dismas House staff member Debbie Diegoli at dldiegolivt@gmail.com or Rita McCaffrey at 802-824-3660.

— Aimee Caruso