Saturday, June 24th, 2017
Ready for moving day
House of Hope prepared for new residents
By Ed Gebert
Executive Director Sandy Huckemeyer stands inside the women's House of Hope faci. . .
CELINA - House of Hope's two sober-living facilities are nearly ready for residents as managers for both houses have moved in and applications are being accepted.
"We have been waiting for these two for quite some time," House of Hope Executive Director Sandy Huckemeyer said. "The board is excited to have these two individuals on the ministry team. We think of this as a ministry since this is a faith-based house."
The ministry strives to lead selected Mercer County residents one step closer to sober, productive lives.
A women's house director is in place and overseeing one resident. According to Huckemeyer, a second resident is coming on Tuesday and a third will move in at the end of the month. No man has yet been accepted into the facility, but three or four applications are pending.
The names of the directors are being kept private for security and privacy reasons, but each has some familiarity with the county. The men's director, Jeff, is a Lima native who has spent time in Mercer County. Krista, the women's director, is a Mercer County native. Both bring their own experiences with addiction and a desire to give back to the community and to help those struggling with addiction.
"I've been sober myself for six years. I've been around recovery and developed the understanding of the commitment it takes," Jeff said. "I've lived all over the country, had all kinds of jobs. I've had success at various times but always seemed to go back to backsliding and falling back into the addiction. I could never understand why until I finally got to the point where I developed my relationship with God. And that's the most important thing for anybody that comes to the house. You've got to develop that."
"As a teenager, I starting drinking and using, with periods of what I call dry times," Krista echoed. "I had jobs that I never kept just for the fact of my addiction. Until I turned my life to the care of God, and said, 'I can't do it, I need your help. I've been through enough.' I felt like I was in hell. When I did that, that's when my life started changing."
Each house just west of Celina on Mud Pike can hold six residents. The program is designed for men and women to stay for six to 18 months. While living there, residents are taught basic living skills and job-hunting skills.
"They go to meetings, we tell them how important it is to have a relationship with the God of understanding," Krista said.
"Our goal here is to make sure the residents are committed to 100 percent recovery and that they focus only on themselves in recovery. A lot of times they will come in and their important things to them are their children, their independence and getting a job and paying for things, and we don't look at that as the real focus of our program. Our focus is on them. If we can get them committed to 100 percent working on their recovery, then everything else in their lives are going to fall into place. But if they are not committed, they're going to fall short of what they need to do," Huckemeyer said.
The men's program is new. The women's program began in 2014 and continued into early 2017.
"The most recent residents left in March, Huckemeyer noted. "One had a baby. She's doing very well. One girl had to be evicted because she wasn't following the rules, and one girl moved in with a boyfriend. So we've only been empty since the middle of March.
Jeff and Krista said they understand the struggle that addicts go through in recovery.
"We're just doing it one day at a time ourselves," Jeff said.
"I'm just excited and very hopeful. And I hope with everything I have in me that I can do the best I can for these girls," Krista said.
Jeff added, "There is enormous potential here. It's an inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot thing. But there's no better feeling than to see somebody get successful and come out of that hell."
Applications are available online for individuals, hospitals, jails and anyone interested in helping Mercer County residents move to a sober-living facility where they can return to independence.
"Mercer County residents took it upon themselves to develop these houses," Huckemeyer said. "There is a group of people that had an idea and made it a reality, and so now the houses are going to function the way they are supposed to."