Home for former female inmates sparks controversy in Bronx where neighbors say they’re worried

CASTLE HILL, the Bronx  — A heated debate is simmering in the Bronx over Hope House, a space for women to live after serving time in prison. It recently opened its doors in Castle Hill.

Hope House was founded by Topeka Sam and Vanee Sykes. Both women became friends while they were inmates at a Federal prison in Connecticut.

Sykes recently brought PIX11 inside the home, which was decorated entirely through donations.

“When I came out I went to a halfway house and it didn't look like this,” Sykes explained.

Hope House has gained national attention, but they’ve received major pushback from local neighbors.

“They want to put a program with six formerly incarcerated women coming out of different penal institutions to live here, we have no knowledge of what kind of serious crimes they committed and we don’t want that kind of environment to have an influence on our children,” Louis, who owns a home near Hope House, said.

There is a town hall meeting scheduled for March 1 to discuss Hope House and its future in Castle Hill