Seeking Shelter

New project to help families
find housing after disaster

City-donated house to be renovated,
maintained by group

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(May 2010) – During church service two years ago, North Madison Christian Church Pastor Bill Hicks asked congregation members if they were willing to take a challenge, but he didn’t tell them what it was. After the service, Holly Harmon was one of those parishioners willing to try. Hicks handed her $100 and told her to come up with a way to help people.

Project Phoenix board members

Photo provided

Project Phoenix board members
include (from left) Chris Sedam,
Steve Hale, Julie White, Holly
Harmon and Tim Harmon.
Absent is Kara Sedam.

Because of that original challenge, Project Phoenix was created to help people who have lost their home due to a disaster. The project, a committee of non-profit organization Historic Hoosier Hills Resource Conservation and Development, has been given a home to restore and maintain for families involved in a crisis.
Recently, the City of Madison, Ind., was given more than 23 acres of property on Madison’s hilltop by the Indiana Department of Corrections. That property included a two-story, 2,400-square-foot brick home, built in the 1930s. The city donated that home to Project Phoenix, said Tim Harmon, a board member of the project.
City of Madison Building Inspector Mike Hoffman said the house is structurally sound but will need just about everything on the interior replaced. “It’s in sad shape, but it can be renovated,” he said.
“We are elated that our dreams are becoming a reality,” said Harmon. “Currently, we are working on all the legal aspects of the transaction, but we hope to have things in place to be able to help families in need by next year.”
Harmon said that after his wife took the challenge offered by their pastor, he received a call from a distressed family that knew he had rental property available. “I wished that I could have been in a place financially to offer them the help they needed, but it wasn’t a reality,” he said. “I realized then that a community group could possibly work on a project to buy and maintain a home for people that suffer from disaster.”
When completed, families will be able to stay in the house for up to six months without paying rent. “It will help them get back on their feet,” said Harmon.
The organization has been working steadily for the past year on fundraising for the project.
On May 23, Project Phoenix will host a Family Fun Golf Day golf scramble at Cozy Acres Golf Complex, 4040 N. SR 62. Activities start at 10:30 a.m. The cost is $25 per player, and there will be prizes available, including a four-wheeler, Callaway irons, a Sharp Flat Screen TV, and two U.S. plane tickets. Kroger Co has donated its services for a cookout lunch. A giant slide and jump around inflatables will be there for children.
Sponsors for the event include Kroger, WORX Radio 96.7 FM and Andersons’ Sales and Service.
“The event is open to all ages, and we hope to see everybody come out and support us,” said Harmon.

• For more information about Project Phoenix, visit: www.projectpnx.org. For information about the Family Fun Golf Day, call Cozy Acres Golf Complex, (812) 273-3137.

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