This month’s Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is Hand-Up Village in Celina. Hand-Up Village, a nonprofit organization, offers temporary housing for those in need and has served Mercer County since 2015.
A Need and a Calling
Some people are surprised that homelessness exists in Mercer County, but Pastor Rick Brosher says there’s been a consistent need in the community for many years. In 2015, he took action to do something about it.
“I really just felt like God said, ‘You’ve gotta build some cabins,’” said Brosher, who runs the village in addition to pastoring the Lord’s Abounding Grace Church in Celina.
Finding the right location for the organization was a challenge, but five acres located just outside the city limits became the site of just one small cabin. Today, the property is home to 12 cabins, which are full year-round.
A Hand Up, Not a Handout
All of the funding for Hand-Up Village comes from donations.
“Mercer County businesses and organizations make this happen. And folks are so very, very generous here,” said Brosher.
Residents sign an agreement upon moving in that they’ll remain for anywhere from three to six months. During that time, the village supports them in finding a job and setting aside at least half their earnings to purchase a vehicle, get out of debt, and find permanent housing.
As a faith-based organization, Hand-Up Village also asks that all residents attend a church of their choosing in the community.
Brosher said he sees people from all backgrounds who come to Hand-Up Village. Some are young adults who have aged out of the foster care system and have nowhere else to go. Others may have experienced medical problems or job losses.
“Jesus told us that we were supposed to help the poor and the needy … and so, you just care about people. You just want to help people,” said Brosher. “Not everybody wants help. And we’re not willing to enable people to live in a way that’s not going to be successful or where somebody else is just paying their way. Our goal is to help people who genuinely want to get up on their feet.”
Supporting Hand-Up Village
Brosher said there’s always a need for more housing, and he receives several calls a week. In the long term, he plans to continue expanding by adding more cabins on the property. But in the meantime, there are still everyday operating expenses like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and utilities.
“I certainly can’t be anything except thankful because the people in Mercer County have been so very generous to make sure that we’ve continued to go on,” he said.
Visit Hand-Up Village’s Facebook page to learn more or support the organization.