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'A Place Called Hope' opens in Clay City
to serve homeless female veterans
Frank Phillips, Editor, Brazil Times
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 11:34 AM
Congressman Larry Bucshon, Rep. Bob Heaton, Dan Chassie, Sen. Eric Bassler, Gloria Chassie and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch at the ribbon cutting for "A Place Called Hope" in Clay City on Saturday. Frank Phillips photo
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For more information, see http://www.helpingthehopeless.orgAn invitation from one pastor and the donation of a house from another pastor has made it possible for Clay City to have “A Place Called Hope” that will help alleviate the problems faced by homeless female veterans, a dozen at a time.
The story begins in Florida, where the Rev. Michael Monk met Dan Chsssie.
“We became friends over 30 years ago,” said Rev. Monk. “I pastored a church in Florida and he was directing the drug program. We met at a convention, a camp meeting and God just brought us together as friends and we began to work together. “
Fast forward to a few years ago and the long-time friends were talking one day. Chassie had become involved in creating homes for men and women. Monk now lives in Clay County and he invited Chassie and his wife, Gloria, to move here and start a home for homeless female veterans.
“We started out with two gallons of paint,” Chassie recalled during a ribbon cutting ceremony at “A Place Called Hope,” 501 E. 9th St., in Clay City on Saturday.
Then there came a $5,000 donation from Farmer’s State Bank but no place to house the women.
Another pastor, Brad Porter, and his wife, Robin, had bought a home but decided to not live in it. Instead they donated it to the Chassies for “A Place Called Hope” on Ninth Street in Clay City.
Clay City may not be the biggest city in Indiana, but it will serve as a place to reach out to the whole state, ready to meet the needs of female veterans.
Chassie has built other homes around the nation, including one he administered for 28 years in Florida before retiring and then moving to Indiana.
His first home was in Hartford, Connecticut in 1981 and he built the home in Florida in 1984.
They never turn anyone away due to inability to pay and they do not have help from the federal or state government.
However, the organization is a tax exempt 501c3 organization and, Chassie said, there are real tax advantages to donating real estate to such organizations.
The ribbon cutting won the attention of Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon (Indiana-8th District), State Senator Eric Bassler and State Rep. Bob Heaton, all who spoke during the program.
Female veterans are the fastest growing population among homeless veterans, Chassie said.
“Phase 2” will be to start a home for children and their mothers in this area. He would like to have a farm donated to his organization for the purpose.
“Many homeless females with children will not go for help for fear of losing their children,” Chassie said. He hopes that children and adults can become families in a farm setting operated by his organization, Helping the Homeless.
“Governor Holcomb and I are so proud of Clay City” for having “A Place Called Hope located here, said Lt. Gov. Crouch.
She said a person can find no greater cause than helping homeless female veterans.
“This place is so beautiful,” said Congressman Bucshon, who had been given a tour. “This is a major asset in Clay City.”
Chassie has used donations and volunteer labor to invest more than $50,000 in renovating the house.
He said during the ribbon cutting that Graber Post Buildings in Odon, had promised to sell the material for a metal roof for $3,000 and a group of Amish workers said they would volunteer to install it.
Before the ribbon-cutting was over, the American Legion post in Clay City said they would donate the $3,000.
“The problem we have with addiction is not just in large cities but also in rural areas,” Bucshon said. “We need to help veterans with interaction with the government," said Bucshon, who is himself a veteran. "That is one of the biggest jobs I have in Congress,”
He said organizations like Chassie’s is the crux of the solution to help people get out of homelessness and addiction.
Senator Bassler continued the theme.
“Bob Heaton and I will do all we can at the state level to support all of you and address mental health issues,” Bassler said. “But people like Dan and Gloria can show love and that’s important. You are changing lives.”
State Representative Heaton said, ‘It’s amazing what they have done.”
Chassie concluded by relating “major needs we still have” including a 15-passenger van to transport the dozen women and two full-time live-in helpers, the children’s home, and the metal roof that will be installed thanks to the American Legion in Clay City.
The women’s home will have a $10,000 a month budget when operating at full capacity.
Finally, one of the home’s greatest supporters, who passed away, was Loretta Wellman.
To honor her memory, a portrait of her will hang in the education room and it will be called the Loretta Wellman Learning Center.
Following the program, dignitaries gathered on the front porch for a ribbon cutting ceremony and then lunch was served.
Following the ceremony, Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders said, “I have great, great admiration for Clay City, Clay County, the Wabash Valley and the State of Indiana and what is done for all veterans. I am very hopeful this will do some in helping veterans who have served the United States.’
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