OK, my lovely readers and followers, it's time to get serious for a moment. Picture this. You're in your mid twenties. You're about 3 or 4 months pregnant, you have a 1 year old and a 6 year old. You, your husband and your children get off a greyhound bus after spending two days on that said bus with grumpy kids, morning sickness and motion sickness. You're in a town you've never been to before that's filled with in-laws that in nine years, you've never met. You think you're going to be able to stay with one of these family members only to find out that that's not true. Your family can only stay there one night. Now what? You have no job, no food, no money, no home. What do you do?
If you are in Washington Courthouse, Ohio you call Gaye Huffman. Gaye is the Program Coordinator of the local homeless shelter, The Brick House. I don't know if any of you have ever had to stay at a homeless shelter before. Unfortunately, we have, even before this. The Brick house is like none other I have ever seen before. Yes, it was still scary. I'm not the type of person who does well with change or the unknown. But the staff at The Brick House did everything they could to put us at ease.
From the outside, you would never guess that this is even a shelter. Like, it's name, it really is a large brick house. I guess staying there would be kind of like a mix between having room mates and living in a dorm. If you're a family, like we are, they try to put you in a room of your own. Single women are roomed together. There are four good sized rooms upstairs plus a full bathroom. Downstairs you have Gaye's office, a large living room for the adults, the kitchen, a half bathroom, a play room for the children with a baby gate for safety, a bedroom for the House Mom, storage rooms, and the stairs leading to the basement where there are 2 washers and 2 dryers.
Everybody has assigned chores and you have designated times for bathing and doing your laundry. I know it might sound like a pain but with so many people sharing one shower, it's really necessary. There are also weekly parenting classes that you have to attend as well as a 9pm curfew. Each family is responsible for cooking their own meals but a lot of times a few of us would pull our resources and make dinner together.
The best part about The Brick House though are the resources available. Gaye has connections everywhere in this town. As long as you're doing your best, she will help you find a job, apply for assistance and find housing. We were placed in the Transitional Housing Program. This is a 1 year program where you have to be either working full time, going to school full time, or doing both part time. Your rent is based on 30% of your income. And you can even get help with your utilities through Community Action.
Thanks to The Brick House, my family has had more stability in the past two years, than we've had in a long time.