IRON MOUNTAIN - A new facility for newly-released jail inmates will open in Iron Mountain in late January.
Alpha Omega Residential Rehabilitation Home will house up to eight men due to the efforts of a large group of clergy from several denominations and many concerned residents, Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula officials announced.
The home at 112 W. Brown St. in Iron Mountain is owned and operated by Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula, but many faith communities and local businesses have come together to support the endeavor.
A Catholic Social Services-owned home at 112 W. Brown St. in Iron Mountain will soon open as the Alpha Omega Residential Rehabilitation Home, providing a residence for men who have recently completed their jail terms.
"I am so impressed by the cooperation of so many Christian pastors from different denominations in making this project a reality. This is truly a Christian project," said Deacon Dan Powers, executive director of Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula.
Pastor Joel Smeby of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Felch stressed that it is very significant that this effort comes out of the faith community.
"Those who have been caught in the cycle of crime and anti-social behavior have become lost in their relationship with God, our loving father in heaven, and in their relationships with their fellow human beings," Pastor Smeby said.
"The spiritual programs that this home will offer to its residents will go a long way toward beginning the process of re-building those relationships and helping them to make better decisions in the future," Pastor Smeby said.
The house will provide a residence for men who have recently completed their jail time for up to 90 days at no cost.
During their stay, the men will be offered assistance in finding employment, housing, transportation, and substance abuse and mental health services.
Felony arsonists, felony sexual offenders, habitual violent offenders and felony offenders under psychiatric care or taking anti-psychotic drugs will not be admitted.
The residents will have to observe very strict rules at the home, including a zero-tolerance policy regarding drugs, alcohol, or weapons of any kind, officials said.
"This is a beautiful home for these men to make a new start. We will help them to turn their lives around, but if they have any slip-ups, they will be asked to leave the home," said Deacon Don Christy, founder and director of Alpha Omega.
The project has the support of Dickinson County Sheriff Scott Celello, and the Sheriff's Department will have a major role in determining who will reside at the house.
"This is not a flophouse," noted Deacon Christy. "No one will be allowed to stay until they have been recommended by the Sheriff's Office, judges and clergy, and then approved by the advisory board of Alpha Omega."
Sheriff Celello believes that the opening of the house is beneficial to the community in several ways.
"Current inmates will have an incentive to behave while in our facility, because they know they may have an opportunity to be accepted at the Alpha Omega House after their release," he said. "Once they are a resident, they will have many programs offered to them to help them grow personally and spiritually. I feel this will help reduce the number of repeat offenders."
Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula purchased the house from the Salvation Army, who previously used it as a homeless shelter.
Deacon Powers said no direct government funding will be used to operate the facility.
Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula is a non-profit agency whose mission is to nurture and stabilize families in the Upper Peninsula.
Services offered include adoption and foster care licensing and placement, outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment, and pornography addiction services. CSSUP also owns and operates KeenAgers Home in Wakefield, which provides adult foster care, assisted living, low-cost independent living and respite care for up to 42 residents.
The blessing and dedication of the Alpha Omega Residential Rehabilitation Home at 112 W. Brown St., Iron Mountain, by Bishop Alexander K. Sample will be held Thursday, Jan. 17, at 1 p.m.
In attendance will be members of the clergy from several denominations, Sheriff Scott Celello, other law enforcement and government officials, and Deacons Dan Powers and Don Christy.