New homeless shelter provides ‘banner day’ for Middletown

Hope House Mission held a ribbon cutting for their new men’s emergency shelter an permanent supportive housing apartments to support those experiencing homelessness and poverty Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 on Grove Street in Middletown. The facility has a 50 bed emergency shelter, 30 one-bedroom Permanent Supportive Housing apartments, administrative offices, counseling and case management offices, a chapel, recreation room, dining room with commercial kitchen and health counseling room for nurses and visiting doctors. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Hope House Mission held a ribbon cutting for their new men’s emergency shelter an permanent supportive housing apartments to support those experiencing homelessness and poverty Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 on Grove Street in Middletown. The facility has a 50 bed emergency shelter, 30 one-bedroom Permanent Supportive Housing apartments, administrative offices, counseling and case management offices, a chapel, recreation room, dining room with commercial kitchen and health counseling room for nurses and visiting doctors. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Thirty-one years after Hope House Mission opened on South Main Street in Middletown, the men’s homeless facility celebrated its new $11.4 million building Monday morning at 1001 Grove St.

“This is a banner day for Middletown,” said board President Carla Messer.

The new facility, which replaces the 150-year-old former U.S. Hotel on Main Street, includes a 50-bed emergency shelter for men and 30 one-bedroom apartments for the chronically homeless, said Tim Williams, executive director of operations at Hope House Mission.

Funding for the project came from tax credits, private support and grants, Williams said. Hope House is a subsidiary of City Gospel Mission, which has been based in Cincinnati since 1924.

Abilities First gifted the Grove Street property to Hope House Mission in 2014. That donation proved to be the “cornerstone” for Hope House moving to a new location, Messer said.

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

• Chapel

• 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