Mission House will discontinue service in March

Mission House on 146 W. Franklin St. is set to be officially out of commission come March. The home has served as a place of transitional housing for the homeless in the Greene County area for the last few years.

Janice Gottschalk, owner of the Mission House, listed the house for sale before December, but waited until the 10,000 Villages event, something she hosts every year in late December, to conclude before she continuing the process of selling the house.

“The realtor is going to stick a sign in the yard soon,” Gottschalk said.

Gottschalk still believes in the mission behind the house, but realizes that maintaining these operations cannot be done by her.

“While I still believe there’s a need for this transitional housing for homeless people, I don’t know that I’m particularly the person to run it,” Gottschalk said.

Before her last guest, Gottschalk explained that the house was full, including the apartment above the garage, and the activity took a toll on her.

“Honestly, I needed a staff at some point. It worked out, but it was a lot of coming and going and taking people to appointments,” she said. “If I had even one other person that would have been nice, but we didn’t have the funds.”

Typically, Gottschalk would have received funds from the Greene County Memorial Hospital, as in prior years. She decided, along with her board however, to suspend the mission.

“I was doubtful of my own abilities to continue. I’m sad, but wiser,” she said.

The job was draining on her, Gottschalk explained, as some would follow the rules with gratitude while other guests would “lie to her face.”

For the next few months, she will be hosting group meetings and is planning on hosting a prison ministry group in March. After that, the detail work of selling begins.

Gottschalk has reached out to many who would be interested in the home, including Waynesburg University.

“I reached out to the university indirectly to see if they would be interested in it since it’s so close to the campus,” she said.

Gottschalk hopes to have the home sold in the first quarter of this year to use the funds to begin building a more accessible retirement home for herself in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.

Gottschalk still sees a need in the community for transitional housing, but holds hope that non-profit organizations in the surrounding counties can accomplish the task.

“Homelessness is a very tricky situation. Greene County has as much going for it and its homeless people as other counties do,” Gottschalk said. “We work with Washington and Fayette counties to see how much room is in shelters, but it sometimes takes months for someone to get qualified for housing.”

Though the future of Mission House’s purpose is up in the air, Gottschalk can only have hope that the mission will continue.

“It’s been a really good experience for me, a learning experience, and I’m glad I did it,” Gottschak said. “I hope the house can be useful for the community in the future.”