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A haven for help

South Boston News
The new Transition Center on Moore Street
SoVaNow.com / July 27, 2017
South Boston is getting a new Transition Center — a place to assist people who need help in finding a safe place to live. Participants will work to accomplish specific goals to improve their living conditions and find gainful employment.

“We want to be the best neighbors on this street,” said Bonita Nelson, president of “Do Something in Halifax,” a local non-profit organization that has spearheaded establishment of the center.

Group members announced late last week they have bought the house at 1332 Moore Street to convert into the Transition Center. The eight-room home, located on nearly an acre of land, offers five bedrooms and three bathrooms on two floors. It also includes a separate 16-by-16 foot structure that the organization plans to use as an office.

“We have a lot of work to do on the home,” said Nelson, who noted that Do Something in Halifax has been working several years to find a solution for people who need assistance.

She stressed that occupancy of the home cannot exceed five at any time, and residents who are chosen to live there will be closely screened.

Vetting will be conducted by a three-member team consisting of a law enforcement officer, a behavioral health specialist and a veteran member of the Department of Social Services. Each applicant will have to complete a case profile reflecting their individual interests and skill levels.

“The house our organization purchased will be used as a Transition Center and will provide a place for personal improvement and restoration,” stated Nelson. “It will be a place where people will be given the opportunity to advance themselves and their way of life if they are willing to put in the effort required of them.”

The Moore Street house needs new windows and insulation for better energy efficiency. Nelson also wants to have an electrician inspect the electrical outlets since the house is not new and has been used as rental property for a number of years.

Steps to the back porch also need to be replaced, and the interior walls need a fresh coat of pain.

Nelson said local businesses such as Boston Lumber Company and Lowes Home Improvement have been very generous with offers of building materials.

“Local residents have also donated furniture and appliances with nothing in the house being new. We’ve done a lot of cleaning and repairing and we are very grateful to all who have shared with us,” she said.

Residents of the home, she said, will be responsible for doing their own cooking, cleaning and washing of clothes. “They won’t spending their time lying around and watching TV,” Nelson said.

She is also happy to note that there is sufficient land behind the house for residents to plant a garden for fresh vegetables, thereby cutting down on the cost of groceries. She estimates that the grocery bill should not exceed more than $100 monthly since surplus food will be provided to the center by the Richmond based USDA Foodmore/Feeding America chapter.

“I figure we’ll only have to buy milk and bread.”

There will be no deadline for how long a resident may remain in the home, whether for a month or a year. It will depend on the resident’s ability to find a suitable home and his or her ability to get gainful employment.

Nelson said applicants who are not chosen to live in the Transition Center will be referred to other agencies for assistance with their specific needs.

A supervisor will be on site each night at the home. During the day, residents will be encouraged to participate in classes to strengthen their workplace and homemaking skills.

As for an official opening date of the center, Nelson said she hopes to have it open before the cold weather sets in although there is still much work to be done to the home.

On Tuesday, Nelson will have a booth at the National Night Out event held at the Fairgrounds. There she will distribute pledge cards for residents who want to join in supporting the work and operation of the new home.

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