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Emergency housing facility opening in Hancock

September 18, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK -- Sitting in the living room of the newly renovated Good Samaritan House, one gets the feeling of being in a real home with comfy furniture, soft rugs on hardwood floors and pictures and inspirational messages on the walls.

That's just what Debbie Cohill was hoping for when the idea of a transitional housing site for people with emergency housing needs was first planned by the Interfaith Service Coalition more than a year ago.

The double house at 6-8 W. High St. in Hancock, near the intersection with Baptist Road, looked quite a bit different in August 2007. Parts of the rear addition of the house were unsafe and had to be torn down and replaced, said Cohill, director of the ISC.

"We have a $61,000 mortgage on the house, but everything else is paid for except for just $5,000," Cohill said.

LeRoy Myers Inc. served as the general contractor for the remodeling work. Both Cohill and the Rev. Allan Weatherholt of the ISC board of directors had high praise for the work that was done by the area firm.

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"They were very professional and steady and kept on schedule," Weatherholt said. "Always looking out for the extras."

The house is to be formally dedicated Saturday.

A handicapped-accessible ramp leads from the street to the house. There is a living room, bedroom and full kitchen on the first floor and two more bedrooms upstairs. There is also an "apartment" for a live-in caretaker in the house.

Weatherholt said the community has been generous, with donations from individuals, churches, businesses and other organizations.

In addition, several grants were obtained to help with the purchase and remodeling of the house, Cohill said.

In the past, Hancock had no emergency transitional housing to offer to families displaced by fire, flood or financial disaster, or to victims of domestic violence.

When emergencies happen in the Hancock area, the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross usually houses displaced people in the Super 8 Motel.

That was the case during a recent standoff at a Hancock motel -- a tense situation that displaced a number of travelers who were unable to return to their rooms for two days.

The Good Samaritan House could have been used to help at least one family during that crisis if it had been open, Cohill said.

For more information about Good Samaritan House or on how to contribute, call the ISC at 301-678-6605.

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