Elyria crisis care center for children expands to meet increasing demand for services

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ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — It’s known as the house with heart and now thanks to generous donors a crisis care center for children is expanding.

The Blessing House God’s Project of Hope will open in May. The new building in Elyria can accommodate housing for nearly 30 children at one time ranging in age from birth to 12.

“We really believe that this whole ministry was a call from God,” said Sister Mary Berigan, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Blessing House. “We recognized that we had a waiting list that we could just not accommodate. There were too many kids who needed a space.”

The non-profit founded in 2005 operated at capacity for several years. 

“When a family is struggling with some event or some emergency the children can actually come and stay with us,” said Berigan. “They move in we take care of them during the day, and we will take them to their home school.”

The need for the safety net of services provided only grew during the pandemic as families faced unprecedented complications with housing, employment, and mental health.

“Children come here and they stay voluntarily by agreement with the parent, or the caregiver and it does not affect their custody and it does not cost them anything,” said Berigan. “Our whole purpose is to make sure children have that safe place and have a place they can be when they can’t be home.”

After the excitement of launching a more than $3 million campaign for a new space the pandemic started making fundraising difficult, but the generosity of the community helped the prayer for more space become reality.

“All of a sudden you open the mail one day and here’s this check that you knew nothing about, that you had no idea was coming and it just reinforces the fact that this is God’s project of hope,” Berigan said.

The Blessing House is open every day of the year to provide immediate safety for children. Since its founding at least 1,400 children have been served. Berigan said they are one of three licensed crisis care centers for children in Northeast Ohio.

“It just seems to happen that when we are in need, God supplies,” said Berigan. That’s the lesson for us.”

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