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Good Samaritan House needs your help

July 01, 2008|By BOB MAGINNIS

It's been a tough couple of years for the Town of Hancock and the citizens of that area.

In 2005, Fleetwood Travel Trailers shut down. Though some workers were able to transfer to the company's Williamsport plant, many jobs were lost.

In January, Rayloc, which employed about 250 and allowed some workers to leave the workplace to respond to fire and rescue calls, announced it was closing.

And there's more bad news, according the Interfaith Service Coalition (ISC), a Hancock-based United Way agency that provides a variety of services to low-income residents.

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In 2007, a developer announced plans to shut the Vista Village Trailer Park, one of the few remaining sources of affordable housing in the area.

Faced with such a shortage of housing, ISC decided to do something about it, according to Deb Cohill, ISC's executive director.

"Last June we purchased an oldmid-1800s duplex in a horrible state of repair and we're going to turn it into transitional housing," she said.

The house will be a haven for the victims of various disasters, which could range form homelessness to being burned out of their home, Cohill said.

"It's probably going to be along the lines of Ronald McDonald House," she said.

Located at 6 and 8 W. High St., it will be called Good Samaritan House, according to a grant application that Cohill shared.

One side of the house will be rented below market rate to a low-income individual or couple who would serve as a caretaker(s) for the house.

The other side of the house will be occupied by tenants who need temporary housing. They will pay no rent, but will be enocuraged to participate in other services offered by ISC and various county agencies so that they can move to permanent housing.

The total project cost was estimated at $240,889. And according to the Rev. Anne Weatherholt, who's working with ISC, there is only about $80,000 still to be raised.

Weatherholt said that the fund-raising effort is being extended beyond Hancock because so many people and businesses in the town have already contributed.

If you can help with this project, please send your tax-deductible check to Interfaith Serrtvice Coalition, 116 W. High St., Hancock MD 21750. Make sure to mark it for "Good Samaritan House." Thank you.

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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