Phoenix helps housing program

November 19, 1997

Phoenix helps housing program


Staff Writer

Phoenix Color Corp. announced Monday that it has given an early Christmas present to families living in the Transitional House in Hagerstown.

The company said it is giving $18,000 to the Community Action Council, which runs the program. The money will help keep the house open for at least a year.

The Transitional House, on Virginia Avenue, has been helping families move into mainstream society for the last 10 years. Serving five families at a time - mainly families headed by single mothers - T-House has accepted people whose troubles range from abusive relationships to prison.


In September, the group told residents it would have to raise rent - tripling it in some cases - because a state grant would expire in December.

Sharon Mays, 34, said she told her 11-year-old son they would not have to move when she found out on Friday.

"When I told him, he jumped up and down. He was just tickled to death," said Mays, who moved into the house last February.

"This is just wonderful news for the residents of the Transitional House," said Glenda Helman, the Community Action Council's director of services.

Helman said she will pursue grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development this spring.

Phoenix Color officials said they will review the grant next November. If another funding source has not been found, the company might contribute for an additional two years.

John Biancolli, vice president of purchasing for Phoenix Color, said the company's Core Values Committee discussed the T-House after The Herald-Mail published a story detailing the funding crisis.

"It was felt that it was a worthwhile cause and a chance to give back to the community," said Biancolli, chairman of the committee.

Helman said it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund programs like the Transitional House. She said she hopes Phoenix Color's action sparks other cooperative efforts among businesses.

"More and more, federal and state dollars are decreasing. It comes back to the community working within its own structures to fill in the gaps," she said.

Helman said the Community Action Council needs assistance, including volunteers, for programs such as Meals on Wheels.

Biancolli said the Core Values Committee, which was formed about a year ago, has funded other projects, including about $90,000 for computer equipment for Winter Street Elementary, Western Heights Middle and North Hagerstown High schools.

Biancolli said he hopes the philosophy spreads to other businesses.

"We're trying to give them a wake-up call. By helping the community they're in, they're also helping their future employees," he said.

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