Flat River Outreach Ministries Adds Housing Component

Less than 24 hour after taking over ownership of two buildings Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) was working on improvements.  The organization is hoping to help fill a housing need in the Lowell community.

FROM volunteers help with clean up

Filling a Community Need

FROM has had an interest in helping the community through housing for some time.  Recently the opportunity to purchase two buildings presented itself.  A Housing Task Force composed of board members and staff was created to oversee the purchase and initial care for the two multi-residential establishments.  Jodie Seese is on the Board of Directors and is a team leader on the task force.  “I often describe FROM as an organization that started as a social service agency, but has evolved into an empowerment center.  Housing is a critical need for many in our community.   I am so pleased to be a part of the Board that decided to take this step.  This is an  important and promising chapter for FROM.” says Seese of the initiative.  Her role is to help with purchases and coordinate with inspectors and contractors through December.  Early 2017 project management will be the focus as FROM addresses a housing need in the community.

Members of the Housing Task Force have been consulting with various housing agencies including Inner City Christian Federation and Community Re-builders throughout the area to learn from various types of living already established.  The goal is to learn from something proven to work when creating the plan for the newly acquired buildings.  While the idea has been years in the making, FROM is still determining specific needs and goals now that they have two buildings in their possession.

During the first work day on November 19 at Denny’s 10 volunteers removed old furniture and various appliances including two commercial washers with an estimated weight of 400 pounds each.   A few current tenants also aided in the clean up effort.  Since then more than 100 volunteer hours have been spent on this project.

Specs and Future Outlook

Denny’s, located at 504 East Main Street currently has 13 units and a four stall garage being used for storage.  The former beauty shop at 512 East Main Street’s property goes to Kent Street, has seven units and is currently vacant.  Buying both buildings will allow FROM to have more options in the future.

FROM has been and continues to evaluate community needs to determine how the organization can be beneficial to those in need in the Lowell Area School District.  There has been a need for safe, clean, and affordable housing for lower-income families and individuals.  This new project aims at offering assistance to those in need in addition to the other services the organization provides.

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