Domestic violence is a hard subject to talk about. But even in small, close-knit communities there are people – women, children, and men – who need a place safe from harm.
About ten years ago George Meredith incorporated the local domestic violence program into HEART of Grant County, a nonprofit dedicated to safe housing, counseling, advocacy, and education. He recruited board members and applied for foundation grants to build awareness and hire staff. Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Shelk Foundation, and others supported HEART. The program grew and hundreds of people were able to find help through the emergency hotline and referrals. In emergencies, housing was provided in local motels.
A few years ago, Rick Minster came onto the HEART board of directors and he and others thought the time was right for HEART to have a permanent home and a facility that would not only provide secure and safe housing, but a place where children – who often didn’t understand what was happening – a place more comfortable than a motel room. And they decided to call it Meredith House, in honor of George Meredith.
George and Rick had both attended nonprofit workshops and trainings promoted by the Shelk Foundation and encouraged their fellow board members and staff to attend, too. The knowledge learned, the contacts made, and the understanding gained, helped secure support.
Ongoing contributions and inkind donations from community businesses and individuals, local government agencies, and foundation grants will pay for the site development, environmental and cultural reviews, permits, utilities, furnishings, fencing and landscaping – including playground equipment for children. Land was purchased from a reserve fund HEART saved from annual contributions through the years. The bulk of the construction is funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant.
Meredith House is a success story. A community effort to help Grant County’s most vulnerable people.