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Transitional house to be ready by December

Local charity puts finishing touches on community project

A transitional housing facility is being finished in Lenox.

United Charitable Association — an organization created by a partnership of local Presbyterian churches — has been spearheading the construction of a four-bedroom house at 104 S. Main St. in Lenox that provides temporary shelter to those who may have troubles finding assistance elsewhere, such as someone who is homeless or re-entering society after incarceration, while they search for a permanent residence.

“This isn’t a safe house. It’s a transitional house,” said Delores Doench, pastor of Platte Center Presbyterian Church and President of the UCA. “We designed this as temporary housing for those trying to get back on their feet, whether they’re homeless or got released from jail, but can’t make the down payments.

The project began three years ago as a mass community project. Southwest Iowa area Presbyterian churches, volunteers from local schools and the Appalachian Service Project have all had a large role in the renovations of the house, and Patches and Pieces Quilt Guild donated 18 quilts to the facility. UCA financed the project with donations and grants from churches and organizations, all without any government funding.

“Southwest Iowa has really kicked in and helped. This really is a community project,” said Doench.

The house is in the final touches stage, that being windows and flooring. Doench hopes that the house will be ready to take in residents by December. The facility will also need a house supervisor at the residence 24/7, which they will be taking applications for shortly.

As for residency, interested applicants start the process by speaking with Doench or another member of UCA. If they qualify, the candidate must go through the appropriate background checks to assure there are no active warrants. The monthly contribution of tenants is expected to be 20% of their monthly income. The house will serve individuals for up to three months with possible extensions via board approval.

With this project nearing completion, Doench states that UCA is hopeful to provide more local communities with transitional housing facilities like this one, believing that a difference can be made in the lives of those assisted.

“You never know when you’re gonna be the one who needs the help,” said Doench. “People who help the most are people who have been helped out the most.”

For more information, contact Doench at 641-202-0314. Any donations to the project can be sent to United Charitable Association at P.O. Box 402, Creston, IA 50801.

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