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Family finds solace in house of (Corner)stone

By Dave Whaley - The Telegraph - (November 6, 2003) |  January 26, 2013

ALTON — For more than four years, Cornerstone has given area families a place to go in times of trouble. There is now a place to live for some.

Cornerstone is hoping to have its first family placed in a new transitional housing unit located (Alton) next week. The house, anonymously donated to Cornerstone a year ago, should be fully functional in time for an open house from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

“The house was given to us by a local Christian couple with a heart for missions,” said Marc Lane, director and senior chaplain of Cornerstone, 1426 Washington Ave. “They just wanted to share what God had given to them.”

Lane said that Cornerstone has worked with area landlords for a long time in helping it clients find housing. Cornerstone will now be able to directly supply temporary housing to a family already enrolled in the ministry’s various programs.

“This isn’t for people who come to us homeless, looking quickly for a place to live,” Lane said. “I can see this being used by our mentoring outreach and separated families trying to come back together.”

Cornerstone offers counseling for those in or headed for divorce. Lane said the first family hopes to move into the transitional housing unit as soon as an occupancy permit is attained.

“This is a separated family headed toward a divorce, with three children,” Lane said. “What we do is put together a case plan including a budget for both households, counseling and work needs. If there’s still money left over, then there will be a suggested donation as rent.”

Lane said each family would stay in the house anywhere from three to twelve months, with six months probably being the average stay.
“God has done some mighty work in this neighborhood,” Lane said. “The neighbors have really taken an interest in what we’ve been doing and we’ve had a chance to visit with them.”

Cornerstone had originally planned to begin work on the house last year, but was delayed until the spring. Several churches and organizations have donated time and materials to the project. They include River Bend Contractors Inc. (backhoe, labor, concrete mixer), Calvary Baptist Church (siding, windows, electrical, labor), Hart Contracting (material, tools, machinery), Sears (new washer and dryer), Bethel Baptist Church of Troy (Adopt-A-Room), Wayne Jackson Tree Service (removal of approximately 20 trees on the lot), United Carpet (carpet), Terry Maltzman Inc. (tile flooring), Brown Street Baptist Church (roof installation), Valley Contractors Inc. (demolition dumpsters), Fischer Lumber (roofing) and Cabinet Solutions (kitchen cabinet custom labor).

“We’ve had so many people come here to work,” Lane said. “There are four men in particular, any one of whom has probably spent more time here than all the rest combined.”

Lane said those four wouldn’t want their names used.

“I was here Monday, and two of them left before it was time to have pictures taken because that’s not why they’re here,” he said. “These guys are perfectionists and their heart is in the ministry. They’re spending more time here than someone you would hire because they really want to do it right.”

The house has a new foundation on one side, a new roof, siding and windows, plus extensive renovation inside.

“We could still use a new refrigerator and stove, plus more bedding,” Lane said. “But we can be functional at this point. We still need to get a gravel driveway and more landscaping next summer, plus I would like to put together a youth project to build a garage.
“What we really want for the city to see is that Cornerstone can have a positive impact on the community.”

For more information about Cornerstone, call 465-4357 or visit www.buildingthefamily.org.

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