Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2013

In the quiet Fairview Heights neighborhood, a quaint three-bedroom home with blue shutters just recently received its first tenant. The home at 116 Harrell St. in Salisbury is an emergency transition home for displaced individuals and families.

The home is owned by Grateful Heart Community Services, a nonprofit faith-based charity that operates under the auspices of Grateful Heart Ministries. The ministry is located at 706 Dunns Mountain Road in Granite Quarry.

The nonprofit will have an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony today at the Harrell Street home to celebrate this new phase of the ministry and its service to the community.

“What we are trying to do is provide places for people who can’t get the help they need,” said Johnny Morgan, pastor of Grateful Heart Ministries.

The home will be for families and individuals who have lost a house to fires or other disasters. It will also be used by those who have experienced unexpected hardships and need short-term housing.

“We provide furnishings, utilities, cable, phone, water and supply them personal hygiene products and food,” Morgan said.

The nonprofit group bought the foreclosed home and renovated it with the help of some who are already living in transitional homes for homeless men. The men put in new flooring, painted and repaired the home.

The nonprofit partnered with the Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross, which still provides assistance to people who have lost their homes to disasters, many of whom receive a few nights in a hotel.

But for those who need help longer, how there is the Harrell Street home.

Morgan said sometimes a few nights in a hotel just isn’t enough time to “get your life back together.” Right now there is just the one transitional home for displaced people, but Morgan said the goal is to have multiple homes or duplexes.

Red Cross Chapter Executive Nancy Litton said the nonprofit contacted the Red Cross about partnering for the transitional home.

“They found us as one of the community response organizations that are also assisting people when they face unexpected homelessness,” Litton said.

The partnership was an attractive one because both organizations respond to people in need.

Litton said this partnership and the house are a “good thing for the Red Cross and Rowan County.”

“Our goal is to help them gain independence and self-sufficiency, to have another resource in the community to refer people to and to have something available for them to step into their recovery plan,” she said.

The Red Cross is not in the position to replace everything someone may lose in a disaster, but Grateful Heart Community Services has a home with furnishings and that will allow people time to get back on their feet, Litton said.

“What we will be able to do is offer this as one of the community resources people can use,” she said.

One tenant is already living in the home, said Janet Yates, who manages it with her husband, David.

The Red Cross contacts them if there is a potential tenant. A meeting is set up to discuss the needs of the individual or family. The next day, the home is ready to receive tenants.

Tenants may stay seven days up to three months, depending on the need. David and Janet make sure the home has food, toiletries and is clean before the family arrives. Each person that stays in the home must abide by a set of guidelines the organization has established.

In 2011, the nonprofit introduced transitional housing for homeless men and it now offers 10 men two locations as a place to go. The nonprofit also provides more than 250 families a month with a supply of emergency food for a week. The emergency food pantry is by appointment only.

The faith-based charity relies on donations to maintain programs, as well as partnerships such as Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Feeding America, which is an established emergency food pantry.

The organization began with three programs — a free food pantry, community events and a giveaway of hygiene products and clothing.

The next event is a free food giveaway July 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 706 Dunns Mountain Road, Salisbury. Recipients must be Rowan County residents, have picture identification, one person per household and items are given away on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information about the food pantry of Grateful Heart Community Services, call 704-209-2257.