by Jenny Erickson, HBA Development & Project Coordinator
Gary Opp, Opp Construction, has been proving that home builders care. He recently became involved in Project HOME, a three-bedroom duplex that provides accountability housing for three men recently released from the Cass County Jail.
Project HOME began in early February with a partnership between Jail Chaplains and My Father’s House. Jail Chaplains and its team of volunteers provide 20 plus hours of faith-based programs at the Cass County Jail every week. My Father’s House is also a faith-based organization which creates networks of welcoming churches, employers, and landlords for individuals coming out of the criminal justice system and recovery. This past February the two organizations came together to revitalize the duplex so it could be a home for three men seeking to live in a recovery accountability community. The goal of Project HOME is to house, feed, clothe and assist in finding employment for those in the recovery and restoration process after incarceration.
Opp is now serving as project coordinator for Project HOME. The goal was to provide a home for three additional men this summer. Opp became involved in this organization when he was invited to a vision meeting by a friend.
“After hearing about the need for this type of housing and seeing the many others in our community who embraced the idea, it was easy to say yes and throw my hat into the ring. I believe God gives us all opportunities to serve Him and when we say yes, He shows up in big ways. I consider it a privilege to have been asked to be part of this Christ-centered outreach,” said Opp.
Cleaning windows, painting, flooring, and minor electrical and plumbing needs are just a few of the things that volunteers did to make the duplex a home.
Project HOME is open to men who are referred through Jail Chaplains. The men are asked to provide their personal story: where they have been, where they are now, what changes they have made and what their goals are. They also go through an interview process. Once living at Project HOME, the residents receive help in finding employment. They are asked to pay rent, attend a church of their choice, participate in a faith-based recovery program and volunteer. Project HOME helps men build healthy relationships and be responsible citizens in our community. The men are asked to sign a six-month lease which can be renewed. They are welcome to stay at Project HOME as long as they are contributing to the harmony of the home and desire to be there.
Opp said that his favorite part has been “building relationships with the men living at Project HOME and working alongside the many volunteers who have the heart to serve.”
He also said, “I often think of guys like Ron Barstad who was a long time friend of the HBA of F-M and active member of the Remodelers Council. Ron stepped up and served his community and church in a way that had a lasting impact on me. We all miss Ron and I was lucky to have worked alongside him on HBA projects. I learned something he knew all along-giving is more rewarding than receiving.”
The HBA of F-M’s charity, Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation, celebrates 20 years this year and is active in supporting education, skill training and projects related to the housing industry. Visit www.hbcfm.com for more about the HBA’s and Home Builders Care Foundation’s good works in the community. Thank you Gary Opp for showing how much home builders care about the communities in which we live and work!
Contact Jail Chaplains Executive Director Gerri Leech at (701) 364-0067 for more information on Project Home.