In a typical year, over 500 youth experiencing some kind of challenge, take refuge in Weinland Park’s Huckleberry House. As a crisis shelter, “Huck House” offers teens, not just a place to sleep, but counseling and support to help them navigate through these challenges.
Built in 1905, the building became home to Huck House in the 1970s and was clearly showing its age. Walls needed painting and dirty, mismatched floor coverings needed replaced.
“We don’t spend a lot of money on fixing up the space,” says Sonya Thesing, executive director for Huckleberry House. “We spend money on programs and staff.”
MAKING THE CONNECTION
Upon learning of the shelter’s needs, members of the Central Ohio chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) stepped up and selected this project for its annual Community Service Project. When a NARI team toured the home, they saw in addition to paint and flooring, the space could also be reconfigured to function much more efficiently.
“By knocking down walls and getting rid of hall closets and storage areas, we were able to open up the space, give them more of a central gathering area, as well as additional—and better—bedroom space,” says Todd Schmidt, chairman of NARI’s community service committee.
FRESH AND VIBRANT
Now, after several months of planning and two months of construction, the second floor is covered in luxury vinyl tile. Fresh paint coats the walls and spaces have been designed to better serve the needs of the staff and residents.
“There’s a lot of joy and happiness in the colors and paintings that were selected,” Schmidt says. “It’s not a drab space.”
“Teens are no longer laying on dirty carpet in front of a desk talking to a therapist,” Thesing says. And it’s far more comfortable for a staff that needs to work 24/7. “It’s just so warm and welcoming, she adds. “This is life changing for Huck House to have this space.”
The Huckleberry House crisis shelter is one of four service categories offered by the 70-member staff of Huck House. For more information, visit huck-house.org.
ACE Handyman, Bath Works, Countryside Electric, The Cleary Company, Dave Fox Design-Build Remodelers, Dublin Millwork, Ferguson, Frog Hauling, Functional Living Design Group, Inskeep Brothers Printing, MSI, NJW Renovations Unlimited, No Drip Painting, Panel Town, PPG Paints, Pro Exterior by APCO, Ron Scott Design Build, SGO Designer Glass, Speedy Patch Drywall Repair, The Strait & Lamp Group
Photos by Karli Moore Photography, LLC
Article originally appeared in February 2023