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Group converting house into emergency shelter

August 09, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Standing in front of what will be known as Good Samaritan House, Mark Stahr managed a smile even though he knows the road to the Interfaith Service Coalition's dream will be a long one.

That dream is turning the property into a transitional housing site for people with emergency housing needs, said Stahr, assistant to ISC Director Debbie Cohill.

The ISC board of directors has purchased the Helen McCarty property, a double house at 6-8 W. High St., at the intersection with Baptist Road.

Because of health issues, the previous owner has moved to the Monterey House senior citizens apartment building downtown.

Stahr said the ISC plans to use one side of the building as transitional housing for persons in emergency need of assistance. This might include those displaced by fire, flood or financial disaster, or those who are victims of domestic violence.

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"We have no shelters here in Hancock, and we need one," Stahr said.

When emergencies happen, displaced people usually are housed in the Super 8 Motel by the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The other side of the building will house a caretaker who will help to look after the ISC properties. Cohill has secured two sizable grants to help with repairs.

Stahr, a transplant from the metropolitan area, retired from the U.S. Department of Energy.

"I started a new life here five years ago," he said.

Eager to "change gears" as he put it, Stahr first began volunteering with ISC.

The project to bring the Good Samaritan House to fruition is particularly exciting to him.

"It will be a lot of work, though," he said.

Walking around the clapboard building, Stahr pointed to two additions in the back of the house that are settling badly. Both will need to be removed so a proper foundation can be laid for future construction.

For more information about Good Samaritan House or the needed funding, call the ISC at 301-678-6605.

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