Manna House expansion expected to wrap up soon

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The Reitzer Enclave, a major expansion of The Manna House shelter that has been more than a year in the making, is nearly complete.

A new kitchen and community room, two new bedrooms, a refinished bath and a large covered porch have all been added to the shelter for veterans and others working their way back to self sufficiency.

The icing on the cake was last month’s completion of a new brick patio built with materials donated by General Shale Brick by volunteers from Terry Henderson Landscaping and two local wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Ferguson’s home supply has donated fixtures for a new handicap accessible bath, the final phase of the expansion, which the men of The Manna House who have done most of the construction expect to wrap up in the next couple weeks.

With a few finishing touches and a few more furnishings, the project that has more than tripled the common areas at The Manna House will be complete. A dedication ceremony and open house to thank the many contributors to the project is tentatively planned for later this month.

“We love it,” said Valerie Brown, director of The Manna House.

“Now we have a place for people who come to the house to sit, and teach, and become more a part of the house.”

With the additional bedrooms, the shelter’s capacity has risen to 27 men and Brown said there is no shortage of those in need of its resources. Currently, there are 23 men on the waiting list to get in.

What hasn’t changed at The Manna House, Brown said, is its rehabilitative programming to help its residents overcome substance abuse and other chronic issues that contribute to homelessness.

“There are people who have come to the house unable to function who have gone out and established stable homes to support themselves and families,” said Bob Garrett, of the nonprofit Fairview Housing corporation, which owns and manages The Manna House.

“People from all circumstances have come here, professionals, M.D.s and Ph.D.s, professional ball players, all kinds of people who have fallen into some really chronic situations.

“The Manna House helps them and encourages them. It becomes like a family to them and they come back and they stay involved here.”

While changes in federal housing support for homeless veterans have shifted The Manna’s House official designation from transitional to permanent housing, Brown said, “Nothing has changed about The Manna House programs and operation.

“The goal is still independence and self sufficiency,” she said.

For more information about The Manna House or to help wrap up its expansion, call the house at 434-9310 or visit www.themannahouse.org.

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