Isaiah 117 House to provide safe housing for kids awaiting placement

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 4/21/19

Plans are moving forward to establish temporary housing in Bradley County for children in Department of Children’s Services custody while foster arrangements are made.

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Isaiah 117 House to provide safe housing for kids awaiting placement

Posted

Plans are moving forward to establish temporary housing in Bradley County for children in Department of Children’s Services custody while foster arrangements are made.

According to Renee Curry, a local advocate for Isaiah 117 House, organizers are in the process of bringing the facility to Bradley County. Curry recently spoke to the Bradley County Commission about Isaiah 117 House.

When children are first taken into protective custody by DCS, they must sometimes wait several hours or even days for workers to find them a suitable foster home. While they wait, the children may have to be housed in a DCS office.

Curry said Isaiah 117 House can provide a safe location for those children as they await placement.

“This house will be about setting up a place for those children,” she said.

The name for the house comes from the Bible verse, Isaiah 1:17, which reads, “Learn to do right, seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless. Plead the case of the widow.”

Since Curry is a widow herself, she feels personally connected to the cause of Isaiah 117 House.

The first Isaiah 117 House was founded in Elizabethton, but the concept is growing.

“We will actually be the sixth house to be set up,” Curry said, adding others have been established across Tennessee.

Discussing numbers with the county commissioners, Curry said 808 children in our region were removed from their homes last year. There are 192 foster families in the region, she added. With such unequal numbers, it sometimes takes time to find a foster home that can take in a child or siblings.

Curry said local organizers have DCS approval to establish an Isaiah 117 House here.

“Our local DCS is so excited,” she said, adding Bradley and Polk counties will share the facility because the local DCS office covers both counties.

Organizers are forming an expansion committee, with the first meeting on April 26. Curry said several committees will come from that for fundraising, site selection and other aspects of establishing the local Isaiah 117 House.

Curry said when an appropriate property is found, she anticipates it will be paid for in cash from donations. She added she has found Bradley County is a special community where once people know the need they will work to fill it; for example, two families began the process of applying to be foster families after hearing about Isaiah 117 House.

Commissioner Bill Winters asked how the County Commission can help.

Curry said commissioners can help by sharing information about Isaiah 117 House, adding she is willing speak to community groups about it.

“What I’ve found is all of us know somebody,” Curry said, adding all those “somebodies” can help spread the word.

Commissioner Kevin Raper asked about engaging the community in the building process.

Curry said the expansion committee will work on that and other aspects at its meeting later this month. She added volunteers, fundraising help, contractors and others will all be needed to help get the house ready for occupancy.

“It has happened differently in each of the six counties,” Curry said, noting some houses have been donated while some have been purchased. Ssometimes the organizing committees buy property and work to put a house on it.

Commission Chairman Johnny Mull thanked Curry for presenting information about Isaiah 117 House, adding commissioners will look for ways to help.

For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.isaiah117house.com or on Facebook under “Isaiah 117 House.”

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