Brooks Ann observed the thriving ministry developing on our campus. She saw the empty space in the former Sunday School wing of our building and noticed that Asheville did not have a medical respite program despite the city’s high per capita homeless population. She challenged us to adopt this relatively new model of care that could interrupt the downward spiral that often begins when homelessness and poor health collide.
We spent a year meeting with potential partners including Mission Hospital, Western NC Community Health Services (Minnie Jones), Pisgah Legal Services and a few others. We visited The Samaritan House in Charlotte, NC for inspiration and advice. Ultimately we saw this as an opportunity for even deeper connection with our community through living together, and we pledged to move forward. We pained all the rooms, purchased bedroom and more, and developed a full set of policies and procedures.
On January 6th, 2014 we welcomed our first Friend into Respite. He had been hospitalized due to a stroke and was referred to us for recuperative care. We were so excited when he arrived. That first year we had 95 Friends stay with us, including Larry, the first person to celebrate a birthday in Respite.