Monday, February 04, 2002

Howard: Some Good News


Housing agency gets $25,000

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Born out of an Over-the-Rhine tragedy, Tender Mercies, 25 W. 12th St., continues to grow with the help of generous acts of kindness.

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        The Verizon foundation gave the housing agency a $25,000 grant to be used to upgrade its technology.

        “We are thrilled about this gift,” said Marcia Spaeth, Tender Mercies director and chief executive officer. “We will be able to upgrade our current technology system to an operational level, purchase new computers, new printers, add new clients and volunteer databases, and establish a Web site.”

        Jack Kennedy, Verizon's Ohio president, said the foundation was pleased to support this valuable community organization.

        Ms. Spaeth said improved technology will allow for more effective use of donated resources, to be able to organize and recruit volunteers and donors, and allow Tender Mercies to better allocate staff resources and improve the quality of services.

        Tender Mercies provides housing and other services for homeless people with histories of emotional and mental disabilities. The agency has been operating 17 years in Over-the-Rhine. It has 150 permanent residents and 16 transitional clients.

        The idea of the agency came from the late Rev. Chris Hall, who was volunteering at the Drop Inn Center Shelter when he learned of two women with mental problems being released from a mental institution. They had no place to stay.

        To get benefits they had to have an address. Father Hall found a place for them on Race Street, paid their rent and bought them food.

        Two weeks later, the women were raped and killed.

        Father Hall decided there should be a permanent place for women in those situations. He and several of his buddies began exploring the idea. In their quest to get an agency started, they would say a prayer each day: “In the tender tercies of our God, help us.”

        After they received enough money from donations to start the housing agency in 1985, they decided to name it Tender Mercies.

        Ms. Spaeth said they now have seven buildings to house clients: four on 12th Street, one each on Race, Elm, and Pleasant streets.

        “We are in the process of renovating another building which will be finished April 1,” Ms. Spaeth said.
       • • • The Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Urban League of Greater Cincinnati gave 28 local children a chance to visit the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta during the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

        The children also visited historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dr. King once pastored.

        They were back in Cincinnati to participate in the King Memorial March.

       Allen Howard's “Some Good News” column runs Monday-Friday and Sundays. If you have suggestions, let him know at (513) 768-8362; at ahoward@enquirer.com; or by fax at (513) 768-8340.
       



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