The House of Blessing should open this spring.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Turning one's life around isn't always a quick feat.
That's why Beatitude House is preparing to fill a void for Trumbull County women needing transitional housing and help with economic and family stability.
Rehabilitation efforts are under way to provide a residence on Tod Avenue property where Riverside Square is located, near the former St. Joseph Health Center.
Kathleen Zimmerman, program director of Beatitude House in Warren, said Humility of Mary Sisters at one time used a building on the property as a convent.
It was then used as a drug rehabilitation facility and sat vacant before Humility of Mary Health Partners turned it over to Catholic Charities Housing Opportunity, an affiliate agency of the Youngstown Diocese.
George Garchar, executive director of the housing agency, said the building will be donated to Beatitude House once construction is complete.
To open in spring: It will be called House of Blessing-Warren and is to open in the spring.
Zimmerman said the building had smaller dormlike rooms that are being converted into seven apartments for women and their children, and one for a resident manager.
It will offer two-year housing, supportive services such as counseling, education, and assistance with finding stable housing and jobs.
Zimmerman said the need in Warren is tremendous because women who leave shelters are sometimes not ready to be on their own.
"There's still a lot of unmet needs," she said, explaining women need options that are longer term because making lifelong changes is not an overnight process.
She added that she's already received calls from women who need housing.
Beatitude House runs two programs -- House of Blessing and the Potter's Wheel, both which have facilities in Youngstown.
Potter's Wheel, at First Presbyterian Church on Mahoning Avenue, Warren, offers job training and economic planning for disadvantaged women.
It's designed to empower women who are outside the economic and cultural mainstream.
Analysis: An analysis of continuing care in Trumbull County was done two years ago by Trumbull County Housing Collaborative and identifies transitional housing as the number one need, Garchar said.
Area housing officials are also looking to provide transitional housing opportunities for other groups of people, including men and those who are released from incarceration.
Funding: Funding for renovation is made possible by Warren-Trumbull HOME Consortium, a partnership between the city of Warren's Community Development Department and Trumbull County Planning Commission.
Trumbull County Housing Collaborative helped secure operating funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Beatitude House is accepting donations of furnishings and supplies for House of Blessing. For more information, call Sister Patricia McNicholas, executive director of Beatitude House, at 744-3147.