In the 1980's, Reverend Ted L. Blumenstein of the Marion St. Paul Episcopal Church decided to tackle the problem of homelessness in the county. Through his church, he organized a weekly "soup kitchen" and provided limited housing for those who found themselves homeless on the cold Ohio nights. He realized that the need was larger than most had anticipated.† As a result, with community support, the first homeless shelter was formed.† Today, this is original site is still being used as our Menís shelter.†
May, 1988, the Marion Shelter Program, Inc. was formed.† As a result of growing numbers entering the shelter, in 1993, the Board of Trustees hired its first non-resident employee.† With this move, the shelter began to develop more structured programs.
In July, 1996, the Marion Shelter Program became a member agency of the United Way of Marion County.† This partnership allowed us to offer a transitional housing facility called the Journey House. This acquisition, gave residents somewhere to stay during winter days when the Homeless Shelter was closed.† Today, the Journey House is used as transitional housing for men who are stably employed and able to pay rent during their stay for no more than two years.
In 2002, the Marion Shelter Program decided to implement a staggered stay-limit policy: individuals and families who had not stayed previously at the Marion Shelter Program could stay for 3 months; those who had stayed previously, could stay for 1 month. The intent behind limiting returning residents to 1 month was to discourage the culture of homelessness that had plagued some former residents.
In 2007, the Marion Shelter Program constructed its second shelter, which houses women, families, and couples in an effort to address the growing numbers of women and families entering homelessness.† With everything that we have in place, we can help to reduce the number of people and families in North Central Ohio who find themselves homeless.