The Healing House

Client Spotlight: The Healing House

The WV Grant Resource Centers’ Client Spotlight series is a monthly feature highlighting the incredible work our clients are doing to secure local, federal, and private funding to empower their communities and economies. See all previous Client Spotlights here.

This month’s Client Spotlight is shining on The Healing House, a holistic behavioral program and nonprofit dedicated to supporting and empowering women impacted by trauma. Based in Charleston, West Virginia, The Healing House was founded in 2020 by therapist Nakia Austin and her husband, Michael.

The Healing House provides wraparound services, in which women have a safe, supportive environment to recover in and on-site access to therapy, personalized achievement coaching, financial literacy, post-secondary education, peer recovery support, and other valuable skills they can use in their healing journey. Austin said The Healing House was created “out of necessity.” She, too, had experienced trauma and wanted to assist women who were navigating difficult situations. 

“We want to meet people where they are in their hurt, whatever that hurt may be, and help them to heal from there,” Austin said. “And so that’s where it came from. I know what it feels like to lose everything. I know what it feels like to have a hurt that feels like it will never heal. And I wanted to be able to provide a space of hope and healing for women that are in that place.”

Finding “home” and funding opportunities

Founded in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, The Healing House was established as a nonprofit later that year. In February 2021, the Austins purchased a home to house its operations. They completed renovations in 2022. Austin said she began to search and apply for grants that could help fund The Healing House’s work. 

“We were able to piece together a grant here, a grant there, and I think within our first year, we’d gotten close to $250,000 in grants, and that was very much piecing together five (thousand) here, ten (thousand) there,” Austin said. “And so that’s kind of where our grant history started.”

In 2023, Austin applied for technical support from the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers. As a Grant Centers client, Austin said she has been impressed by the team’s dedication to their clients, especially grant writer Tabitha Surface, with whom she works closely. The Grant Centers recently supported Austin in her successful grant application for the C.C. Dickinson Family Giving Circle with budget development, outcomes, and reviewing.

“I love that Tabitha took the time to understand what we’re doing and who we are,” Austin said. “When she’s writing these grants, it’s not like she’s trying to pull things together from a website to really understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. It’s really been a joy to work with (the Grant Centers).” 

Currently, she is seeking funding to support the launch of Genesis, The Healing House’s transitional living program for young women, ages 18-24, who have been impacted by trauma. In the future, she also hopes to develop mental health expansion and innovative programs that equip women with leadership, confidence and needed skills to succeed in their next chapter. 

So far, Austin said she’s learned a lot by working with the Grant Centers, including developing stronger goals and objectives and building budget narratives. She feels confident these skills will assist her in future grant applications. 

“I’m a therapist, so I do understand goals and objectives,” Austin said. “But the way goals and objectives work in a therapy world is a little bit different than they were in grant writing, and so I was definitely going in, like from my therapy lens and trying to create goals and objectives. I think they were good. I don’t think they were strong. And so that was one thing that I felt like I could walk away with.” 

The Healing House’s impact 

Between 2022 and 2023, Austin said The Healing House provided support to more than 496 women through outpatient services and support groups. She estimated that the number of women assisted so far in 2024 is “around 58.”

Reflecting on their growth thus far, Austin said she is tremendously proud of where The Healing House has been, where they are, and where they’re going. She said she is especially proud of her team and the sisterhood that’s developed among the staff and the women they support.

“I think we have some of the most amazing, compassionate, hard working advocates in the city of Charleston that do this work day in and day out,” Austin said. “This could not — cannot — exist without them in any way, shape, or form, and so I’m honored to stand alongside them. They have made it a point to be culturally competent. To understand that there are a ton of different kinds of women coming through the door, even if I don’t have a shared experience with them, they work hard to be able to make sure they can maintain empathy. I love how they go above and beyond to be able to understand our women and to learn their point of view and reference.” 

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