UPDATE: Latrobe Street Mission Plans Affordable Housing

By: Shannon Houser, Mollie Lair Email
By: Shannon Houser, Mollie Lair Email

Update: 08/26/2013 6:10 P.M.

In roughly nine months it's been in existence, the Latrobe Street Mission has had some success with its shelter and treatment programs for area homeless.

"We have put 33 to work since we opened in December," Greg Smith, Mission Board Member, told the Wood County Commission Monday. "We put 33 of our clients back into actual-paying jobs, so that's really helped out."

Now, it wants to provide permanent housing to help them continue their efforts to get back on their feet. The mission is seeking an affordable housing grant to build permanent homes in the same neighborhood as the shelter. The four homes would be available based on income.

e have a lot of clients who receive ( Supplemental Security or Disability Income)," said Shad Martin, Executive Director. "But it's not enough money to help them live sufficiently on their own. So we hope to offer this as income-based and hope to get those individuals into housing."

The mission, in addition to operating a shelter, has provided a 12-step substance abuse recovery program, based on, but not part of, guidelines in national recovery programs. the affordable housing is part of that process.

"So it's basically a three-step, going to the emergency shelter, into the program, to transitional housing," Martin added, "and we want to continue to get properties into the city we can offer as permanent housing."

Grants are also being sought to demolish old homes to make way for the new ones. meaning the goal is to rehabilitate more than the mission's clients.

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UPDATE: 02/15/2013 5:51 PM

It's been one milestone after another and now the Latrobe Street mission is handicap accessible.

The ramp and rail leading into the mission were funded through donations.

Donations from the First Baptist Church of Williamstown and proceeds from the mission's thrift store paid for the railing.

And the Sister's of St. Joseph donated around $5,000 for the ramp.

Conley Fabrications donated thousands of dollars in materials and man power to put it all together.

Executive Director Shad Martin say the mission is truly a community based success.

"It's very exciting because a lot of people in the community we serve have some physical disabilities. So now we can reach out to those members of the community and provide shelter and resources to them. And be able to get them in and out of the weather and help them get back on their feet. So it's very exciting," says Martin.

Martin says the mission is starting a new fundraising campaign. They hope to join with 50 local businesses and churches because donations help sustain the mission.
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UPDATE: 01/02/2012 2:30 PM

They've only been open for a month, and already The Latrobe Street Mission is seeing huge success.

Life for DeVonn Curtis hasn't been easy. "I spent most of my life locked up. The majority of it."

Like many in the valley without a home, he didn't know where or how to ask for help.

"It just started going downhill. One Saturday I went to sleep and said it's time to change," he says.

Changing his life is exactly what he's doing now. In just a month, the Latrobe Street Mission has helped DeVonn and many others get on the right track.

"We opened the doors the very first night and had six people. The second night we had nine. The next night we had eighteen. It was just progressively growing and growing," says Associate Director, Brenda Ridgeway.

"I've been here about two and a half weeks, and I've achieved a lot. I think it was the right direction to come," DeVonn adds.

For the people staying at the mission, it's not just about staying one night and leaving the next. It's about creating a family where they can help each other get back on their feet.

"We've been able to help people and move them in the right direction. Letting them know what resources are out there and available. Some people have come to us and not even know how they could get help with the things that they're needing. That's what we're trying to provide for people," Ridgeway says.

People just like DeVonn who hopes to pass along the inspiration.

"Continue staying on the right track. Going to church. Getting involved. Going to talk to different people and sharing my life with them so they don't have to go through what I've been through," DeVonn says.

A thrift store will be open to the public starting Friday. The mission also hopes to gain more donations to be able to open a full kitchen, where they will be able to serve meals to the people staying.
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UPDATE: 13/3/2012 4:00 PM
With cold temperatures and a growing homeless population, a new shelter couldn't come at a more perfect time.'

The Latrobe Street Mission opened to the public Monday.

It's a shelter unlike any other and it's not just a place to come and go. The shelter offers a place for families to sleep and have a warm meal, but they also offer help for people to get back on their feet.

"This will be their residence so they won't have to check out in the morning. They'll keep all their stuff here, their clothes there, they'll be using the laundry facilities daily and they'll live here," says NFS Ministries Chairman, Shad Martin.

A typical day for someone checking in to the shelter, "they'll be free to do whatever until about 9:00 and at 9:00 the doors shut and they need to be inside. 11:00 will be lights out and then tomorrow morning we'll have wake up call at 7:30 in the morning they'll have breakfast. We'll have a devotional in the morning. We have a pastor coming in to give a small devotional and then they'll check out for the day. We're going to start working in the process of getting to know who's wanting to have a place to stay permanently and who's just needing an overnight emergency shelter."

A basic interview process will determine if there's medical needs or anything the staff needs to be aware of. "We'll work on that during their interview process and we'll start to weed out the ones that want to stay here that are maybe going to school or going to work and we'll get them set up and they'll actually be living here."

The shelter runs completely on donations and they still need help to make sure it's up and running for a long time. Already many donations have poured in, including quilts hand made by the "Senior Stitchers."

For more information and ways you can help, click on the hot button.

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UPDATE: 12/3/2012 2:42 PM

"It's just awesome I mean it really is. Just a year ago this was a dream and a vision and it's just coming true. To walk in here every day and see a little more happening, a little more construction done until the day you walk in here and it's complete. I mean it's just awesome," says NFS Ministries Chairman Shad Martin

A year in the works and phase one is complete. The Latrobe Street Mission is opening its doors to the public.

The shelter gives the homeless a permanent place to stay.

"It was a big undertaking just to get it cleaned up first. To construct all the walls, to get it up to fire and safety code. That's been one of our big pushes. We want to make sure we have a safe location," says Martin.

But transforming an old warehouse to a habitable shelter is a lot of work.
Hundreds of volunteers spent thousands of hours installing lights and building walls to make the shelter a reality; a much needed home for a growing homeless population.

"It's a very welcome new facility to the city. I mean as we well know the homeless problem has increased and they've put a lot of work into this over the past few months.Ii mean the city has been working with them as well to make sure they get through the transition with permits and so forth," says Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.

But it goes beyond just being a shelter. With shower and living facilities for men and women, and eventually dorms for families, NFS ,Ministries hopes to give a deeper healing to those in need.

"We'll have people working hand in hand, one on one with people to try to get down to the root cause of the problem. We don't look at homelessness as being the actual problem. It's more the condition that the problem has caused. So we want to be able to get down to the root cause. Be able to build relationships with people and dig down and say why are they in these situations? and then be able to fix that and help them out and plug them in when they need resources and basically bring them out of that situation," says Martin.

There's still work to be done, but it's a step in the right direction.

"It's just been a great community effort to pull things together and help those who need the help," says Mayor Newell.

The Latrobe Street Mission officially opens for use Monday at 4 pm. For more information on how you get help visit www.nfsministries.org or just stop by their location on Latrobe Street behind the Lynn Street Church of Christ.
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Construction is almost complete in a building where some will be able to call home.

The Latrobe Street Mission's seen a lot of progress lately.

Walls are up, lights are going in, and in less than a month, it will officially be open. Mission President, Shad Martin says they hope to have the emergency shelter open by December 1st.

The mission will offer temporary housing for homeless families, but they're not stopping at giving the needy a roof over their head and a warm meal. The mission will also offer help for families to get back on their feet.

"We're gonna have case management. We're going to try to plug them in with the resources they need to get out of the situation they're in. We really don't want to enable the homelessness. We want to be able to give them a way out," Martin says.

Attached to the mission will also be a thrift store with all proceeds going right back to the shelter. The shelter will house laundry facilities, a kitchen, and a living space for children to feel more like home.

Martin is so committed to making sure the shelter can open their doors that he's auctioning off his Harley Davidson.

For more information on the auction and ways you can help, click on the Hot Button.


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