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House offers hope to the homeless

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

Andrea Mallory, executive director of Hope House, spun in a circle to show off the clothes she was wearing as she talked about the transitional homeless shelter she leads.

Her outfit came from the shelter’s thrift store, one of their big sources of income.

Hope House in Greenfield offers shelter and counseling to individuals and families in four counties, including Shelby County, a 60-day plan for individuals and a 90-day plan for families.

“In your first hour at Hope House, we offer you hope,” said Mallory, a former police officer.

The shelter serves people from all backgrounds. They’ve had residents with everything from master’s degrees to GEDs, she told the lunchtime audience at Major Health Partners administration building at Intelliplex Park. 

Mallory’s talk on Thursday was the latest in a series of networking luncheons organized by Denise Holland, the community liaison for MHP.

Hope House, 35 Pierson St. in Greenfield, is a transitional shelter, Mallory stressed.

“My biggest message today is we are not an emergency shelter,” she said.

There is an admission process rather than immediate shelter for clients at the 35-bed facility which is divided into 15 beds for single males and 20 beds for women and families, Mallory explained.

Admission to the program is free. Residents of Hope House are expected to help with chores around the facility. Also, people seeking help at the shelter must be alcohol and drug free and there is a background check.

“In the family wing, we have children,” she said.

People seeking help at Hope House must be a resident of Shelby County, or one of the other three counties served (Hancock, Henry and Rush counties), and applicants must be able to get a job.

That standard means they sometimes must turn away an elderly person who is unable to work, said Mallory, who has led Hope House for about one year.

Transportation is their biggest struggle, she said, as 90 percent of the Hope House residents don’t have a vehicle of their own, and it’s a challenge for the shelter to arrange trips to and from a job.

Mallory is looking to establish an advisory board with representatives from the four counties served by Hope House to help her keep in touch with homeless issues in the area.

And, at some point in the future, she said she’d like to expand and establish other shelters in the outlying counties.