TRAVERSE CITY — A plan to create a permanent home for a small group of alcoholic and chronically homeless street people just received a $35,000 innovation grant.
“This pushed us forward a little faster,” said Greg Stone, executive director of StonesHouse, a nonprofit. “Here we have the Department of Community Health saying this is a worthwhile project and wants to see it happen so it can be replicated in other communities.”
The state Department of Community Health awarded StonesHouse with a 2014 Health Innovation Grant, one of 42 awarded statewide. The grant, intended to cover start-up costs, must be spent by year’s end.
“The grant is a real milestone in that the state was looking for projects that approached health issues in innovative and new ways,” said Jane Hayes, board chair of StonesHouse.
The project initially was termed a “wet house,” but now is referred to as Dann’s House. It likely will accommodate between 10 and 12 people, who will be allowed to drink alcohol on the premises, Stone said.
A site for Dann’s House has yet to be determined, Stone said.
“The main thing is this is where the individual is going to live,” Stone said. “It’s not like they have to get up and leave at 8 a.m. and come back at 6 p.m. or can live there for only two months or six months. If they want to live here until they die, they could.”
Stone has been the driving force behind Dann’s House, a project of StonesHouse. The board formed a committee who are looking for an apartment complex or a six-bedroom house to rent or buy and that is near public transportation, but not in a neighborhood, Stone said.
“A small apartment building would be wonderful,” he said. “There will be a couple of women living at Dann’s House, I believe, and that would make the issue a little cleaner.”