MARION, Ohio — After nearly two years of planning, the Hands of Hope Housing Project in Marion is almost ready to welcome the first residents to their new tiny homes.
These homes provide 367 square feet of space where people experiencing homelessness can get a fresh start.
"We met with the city and we told them we'd like to build houses for the homeless," Bishop Rogers said.
The idea came to life in 2019 when Bishop Corredon Rogers and other pastors and ministries noticed there was a heavy homeless population living in the parks of Marion. He set out to raise money for the project.
Huddled in a tent in an abandoned parking lot for 24 hours, the group of men raised nearly $12,000, guided by faith.
The pastors used the funds to buy land near their churches with the goal of building six to eight tiny homes for people without homes. With the help of social media, donations poured in. And by what seemed like a miracle, the donations went beyond dollars and cents.
"We also have people showing up to offer their expertise, drywallers, roofers, and we welcome all of that," Bishop Rogers said.
They say, if you build it, they will come. In Marion, they did.
One local company donated 39 windows for all of the two-story tiny houses. Whirlpool Company is reportedly donating refrigerators, washers and dryers.
"When it comes to this program, there are no democrats or republicans. We're American citizens coming together," Bishop Rogers said.
Bishop Rogers hopes to get families moved into their homes before Christmas Day. He said the homes are meant to be a temporary stop for those experiencing homelessness. People can stay for either 90 days or up to six months.
During their time in the homes, residents will receive any treatment they need, including addiction therapy and financial help services.
The pastors behind Hands of Hope plan to develop multiple resource centers for the community in the near future. Those will include resources such as free medical attention, recreational spaces and a job resources area.
Their main goal is to help people become self-sufficient.
"We didn't want this to just be a bandaid. we didn't want to give a handout. we wanted to give a hand up," Bishop Rogers said.