House of New Beginnings hires director
A house designed to give men a chance for a new beginning is slated to open soon, and the public is invited to get an inside look at the residence on Sunday, Aug. 6.
‘It’s been a lot of hard work for everyone,’ said Sheila Tempel, president of the 12-member board of directors for the House of New Beginnings. ‘It’s all finally just come together.’
The open house, sponsored by First Harrison Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m., with a dedication service at 2:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
The house, built on a 2-1/2-acre site at 545 Floyd St. in Corydon, will serve as a halfway house for men who are overcoming drug and alcohol abuse.
Tempel, a probation officer for Harrison Superior Court, said the house will offer 24-hour supervision with on-site staff.
‘We will be having a strict screening process to make sure we have good candidates (residing) there,’ she said. ‘We won’t let just anyone in.’
The director of the halfway house echoed Tempel.
Residents, who must be 18 or older, will have to abide by ‘house rules,’ said Brian Dearing, 48, who has been preparing for the House of New Beginnings’ opening. Some of those rules include obeying curfews, holding a job, attending certain meetings, such as A.A. and N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous), and performing community service.
‘We can’t keep them sober here, but we can make sure they don’t use while they’re here,’ Dearing said. ‘The rest will be up to them.’
The nonprofit agency is expected to become self-sustaining, thanks to a weekly fee paid by each resident.
Residents will be allowed to have visitors, but they will be monitored and take place in certain areas of the house.
‘We will know who the people are that are there visiting,’ Tempel said, explaining that if people want to change certain behaviors that sometimes involves changing who they see and the places they go.
Dearing, who was born in Michigan but reared in Huntingburg, said he believes his own life experiences will allow him to better relate to the men who live in the house.
‘I have a lot of real basic beliefs about how to get through life and get to the other side of survival,’ he said. ‘There’s hope at the end of the tunnel; not a training coming.
‘Maybe something I say will get them involved,’ he said.
Dearing earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2004 from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was employed at Baptist Hospital East for awhile, with aspirations of becoming a hospice chaplain. He later worked at Central State Hospital in Louisville.
The House of New Beginnings will initially be limited to 30 residents, although Tempel said they won’t all move in at once.
‘We hope to have our first resident move in next month,’ she said, with additional ones moving in over a 30-day period.
Tempel said it won’t be just court-ordered men who will reside there, but anyone in need of assistance may apply.
Dearing is still hiring staff, including a night manager and some part-time employees. He said he will also be looking for volunteers, who could be asked to do things such as provide residents with occasional transportation, grocery shopping, mowing grass, tutoring, and ‘just visiting with the residents so they know someone cares about them.’
The House of New Beginnings facility was funded with a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis’ Affordable Housing Program and $500,000 from Harrison County government. The architect was Michell Timperman Ritz of New Albany.
Dearing said he has been trying to meet homeowners near the House of New Beginnings to help alleviate their concerns about having a halfway house in their neighborhood. He said most of those he’s talked to have had a ‘bad experience’ with someone who was abusing drugs or alcohol.
‘I tell them we’re trying to get them off the streets so they don’t bother them,’ he said. ‘It’s the ones who are still out there they have to worry about.’
One of the goals of the House of New Beginnings is to reduce recidivism, Dearing said.
Dearing and his wife, Stephanie, live in Louisville. They have a six-year-old son, Hank. In his spare time, Dearing enjoys spending time with his family, reading, walking, music, especially folk rock from the ’60s, and writing.
Other board members besides Tempel are Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis, vice president; Lauren Wheatley, secretary; Debbie Longoria, treasurer; Cindy Bauer, Larry Bauer, Robert Bolen, Wayne Buchinsky, Dennis Byrd, Leah S. Fink, Phyllis Henderson and Fred Satterfield.
For more information, call Sheila Tempel at 738-8214 or e-mail her at [email protected] or call Dearing at 738-3179.