changes face of homeless
Do we have homeless people in Southeastern Indiana?
Consider this. The Heart House near Aurora, which serves a five-county
area of Ripley, Dearborn, Ohio, Switzerland, and Franklin counties,
has served a total of 1500 homeless people in the past eight years.
Craig Beckley, the director at Heart House, encourages people in
the community to come visit the shelter. He further
noted that there is a misconception as to who homeless people
are and what they look like. The majority of homeless people look
just like anyone else, he told The Versailles Republican.
Heart House is a 60-bed facility that is currently serving 60-plus
people. The facility does more than house a homeless person. It
is a place to get healed and get life back together, noted
Beckley. Two out of three people that are employable get jobs while
at the Heart House. They have at least a 68% success rate, which
is so high because Beckley says they give them an extended time
to get on their feet. The Heart House is a safety valve for families
when adult children have to move back home and in with parents.
Beckley also provided the 2010 Point in Time Count of Hoosiers experiencing
homelessness from the Indiana Housing and Community Development
Authority or the IHCDA.
According to Beckley, the report is one date in January that they
use to try to count all the homeless in the state. On the night
of January 27, 2010, in continuum care region 13, which includes
the counties of Ripley, Dearborn, Switzerland, Jefferson, Scott,
Washington, Orange, Clark, Crawford, and Harrison, there were approximately
339 people experiencing homelessness.
The break down is as follows:
149 single adults
116 children in those families
13% of single adults were chronically homeless, that is,
having been homeless for more than a year or experienced three episodes
of homelessness in the past four years and, having a disabling condition.
39% of single adults and adults in families reported suffering
from either a physical or behavioral health condition.
39% of children were under the age of 6.
6.7% of single adults and adults in families reported being
61 households or 165 were receiving HPRP support.
Apparently we do have homeless people in Indiana and even closer
to home in Ripley and surrounding counties. Places like Heart House
are doing viable work to change those statistics in our area.
Case Manager at Heart House, Kris Hall, provided The Versailles
Republican with several success stories because of the involvement
with the Heart House.
Here are a couple success stories she shared.
1. A mom with two children, ages 7 months and 2 years; her husband
left her. When she arrived at Heart House, she had low self-esteem
and no belief in her own abilities. Yet, today, after much patience
and encouragement, she is on her own, with a job she enjoys. She
spent a year at Heart House and has now been gainfully employed
for over two years.
2. A single man. He had faced many failures in his life due to alcoholism.
During his year-long stay at Heart House he was helped to file for
disability, and get on a liver transplant list. Today, he is living
on his own, his health is stable, and he even volunteers at Heart
House and sits on the board of directors.
3. A businessman. When he came to Heart House he had been a businessman
with a college degree and a good job. However, he was at that time
$80,000 in debt due to gambling issues. He had lost his home, his
wife, and his job. Now he is on his own, has a good-paying job again,
and is working on his relationship with his wife.
Hall stated that if they see one success story a year, its
worth it. She maintains that change has to happen for anyone to
better themselves. She truly believes that the Heart House is that
lifeline to change and might possibly be the last
hope for some people.
Living at the Heart House is a way for those who are down on their
luck to be healed, get life back together and be productive citizens
in the community.
Heart House is located on US 50 west of Aurora in Dearborn County.
You are invited to stop by the facility and check it out.
KAREN REYNOLDS PHOTO
The Heart House is much more than a "homeless shelter".
It is a place lives are turned around, people given hope,
and choices made providing new opportunities for people
who have fallen on hard times.