Morrison House opens doors
As written in The Advertiser-Tribune. December 6, 2012 by Zach Gase, Permission granted by The Advertiser-Tribune to display on this website.
Today a project to fight homelessness that took about three years culminates with the first resident moving into Morrison House. Morrison House is a former bed and breakfast that has been developed into transitional living facility, with the help of former Tiffin Mayor Jim Boroff's Task Force, New Housing Ohio and the Tiffin community. "The primary focus is to help them make a change, and get them linked with what they need to be successful in the community again," said Ronele Myers, of New Housing Ohio. "People sometimes don't know where to find the resources."
The Morrison House welcomes its first resident today. The transitional housing facility hosted an open house Wednesday. Residents may live in Morrison House for three to six months, she said. The amount of time a person stays in the house depends on how quickly they can find employment and living arrangements. "We'll be working on their exit plan on the day they arrive," she said.
The house has seven bedrooms, a few of which have bunk beds for families. Maximum occupancy is 28, Myers said. Terry Jones, of Christ's Church at Tiffin, is a member of the task force and said homelessness not only refers to people who are out on the street, but also people who are "doubling up" - living with family or friends.
Wednesday Morrison House opened its doors and put the remodeled residence on display. "There have been so many players in the community who have played a huge role from the first day of construction, that we wanted to make sure that we invited them to see the finished product of what they helped us create," Myers said. "So, just wanted to open the door." Scott Boone, president and CEO of New Housing Ohio, said purchasing and renovating the house cost roughly $300,000. "This particular home gave us the opportunity to provide a welcoming place for folks to call home," he said. "In many cases, particularly in bigger cities, you'll see places that serve this kind of population in more of a dormitory style very unwelcoming facility. We wanted something that felt like a home."
Boone credited Schreiner Custom Stairs and Millwork Inc., who worked as the main contractor for the house's renovations, to making the house have a homey feel. Renovations were all done by local contractors, he said. "This is a partnership of many organizations throughout this community," he said. "There are folks who contributed to this that this wouldn't have happened without." The house has received donations from the National Machinery Foundation, Federal Home Loan Bank and the state, Jones said. Operational expenses from non-grant funding for Morrison House are estimated at $3,500-$4,500 a month. Jones said the house is going to need continuous support from the community.
"We have the wherewithal to do what we do because we're bootstrapped," Boroff said. "We don't get help from outside. We've always had to do things on our own, so any resources, we find it."
The house got its name from Kenneth and Anna Morrison, former residents of Tiffin who used to take in young men too old to stay at the Junior Home Orphanage. "They made a wonderful donation to the community with this home," she said. People interested in living at the house or referring people should contact United Way's First Call for Help program.
"We're not done," Boroff said. "This is a project that's on its way, but we're looking for other things too. And we're looking for other people to become involved."