Several who spoke during the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Monday talked about the positive impact the homeless shelter will have on the Middletown community and its homeless issue. They addressed the expanded services and how those programs will better prepare the homeless to make the transition to permanent housing.
Middletown Vice Mayor Joe Mulligan, reading from a City Council proclamation, said the “best thing we can do as a community is to look for ways to serve this vulnerable population, so that together we all can thrive and have the best chance to be successful.
“We are not looking to draw more homeless into the community, but we want to serve those who live here and call Middletown home.”
Representatives from Hope House, the construction company, bank executives and State Sen. William Coley II talked about the potential of the homeless shelter that has come under fire from downtown business owners because homeless sometimes congregate downtown.
Williams said God has provided the “broken and hurting people of the Middletown region with a facility that will help turn their lives around.” He said the residents will receive food, safe shelter and services in a dignified environment, all leading to “a better opportunity for lasting self-sufficiency.”
The facility includes administrative offices, additional counseling and case management offices, meeting spaces, a chapel, a recreation room, a dining room with a commercial kitchen, a private intake office and a health counseling room for nurses and visiting doctors
Coley said the opening of the shelter comes at a perfect time for Butler County.
“We need workers,” he said. “We have workers in this community.”
He said some homeless “don’t realize their potential,” and he hopes they can improve their lives after obtaining job training at Hope House. He said employment is available if people can pass a drug test and consistently show up for work.
“This facility is needed,” he said.
Guy Ford, director of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, called the grand opening “a great celebration” and said he was impressed by the overflow crowd inside the chapel.
“These kind of opportunity doesn’t come along that often,” he said.
He called the size of the crowd “a powerful statement” about Middletown’s commitment to the homeless.
OLD FACILITY VS. NEW FACILITY
Former location of men’s facility, 34 S. Main St.
• 40 beds for emergency shelter
• 11 single room occupancy apartments
• Limited office, kitchen, dining, recreation and meeting space
• 150-year-old building in disrepair
New location of men’s facility, 1001 Grove St.
• 50 beds for emergency shelter
• 30 one-bedroom permanent supportive housing apartments
• Administrative offices
• Counseling and case management offices
• Recreation room
• Dining room with a commercial kitchen
• Health counseling room for nurses and visiting doctors
SOURCE: HOPE HOUSE
HOPE HOUSE BY THE NUMBERS
• 400 individuals served each year: 200 men, 100 women, 100 children
• 220 hot meals served to homeless guests and the community each day
• 80,300 meals served each year
• Open 365 days a year
• More than 300 volunteers
• More than 85 percent of men and 95 percent of women transitioned from shelters into positive housing in 2018-19
SOURCE: HOPE HOUSE