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Crossroads Center of Hope – Long-term Transitional Housing and a Protective, Safe Environment for Homeless/At-Risk, Single Mothers and Their Young Children


The piece of property known as “The Oak Ridge Motel” is located on approximately 1.52 acres on Elza Drive, just outside the city limits of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and is a piece of history we need to preserve, having been built in 1949 with concrete block inside and faced with Crab Orchard Stone in a unique tudor styling. It is also Number 23 on the list of Oak Ridge Historical Buildings.

The motel was located on the East entry road leading into the gated city of Oak Ridge. At the city end of road was the “Elza Gate” which was one of the gates into Oak Ridge during the war. The Oak Ridge Motel was renovated in 1982 for the World’s Fair and closed in 1989 as Oak Ridge had grown and new hotels and motels were built closer to town. Many years ago Elza Drive was replaced as the main route between Oak Ridge and Clinton by the Oak Ridge Turnpike, but, for the use we intend to make of this motel, the location is ideal.

After the motel is renovated the housemother will be live in the two-story detached unit in order to be on-site loving support for the mothers and young children living there. All residents will come by referral only through area pregnancy centers, and similar non-profits for women and children escaping abuse but not needing to be in hiding!

The motel will be renovated into six one-bedroom apartments where they can spend up to 18 months after their baby is born getting their feet on the ground, being surrounded with others in the same season of their life, and having a place to become grounded.  If needed, they may be able to stay an additional time.  There will also be an emergency single apartment available for use if a mom and children are escaping in the night, and escorted by a police officer.

The motel has two separate buildings the one towards the back of the property we call the ‘L’ Building and a building towards the front. There will be three two-bedroom apartments and a teaching kitchen open to the community room on the long end of the ‘L’. The short ‘L’ area will contain a laundry room, sitting room, playroom, and exercise room.

The building towards the front of the property will have three two-bedroom apartments, the single apartment for emergency use, and a single unit to be used as a reception room/safe meeting place. Our Parenting and Life Skill Classes will be held in the community room which will also provide a place to host additional special interest programs.

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Being gardeners we envision the property at the side of the apartments as an area for fruit trees, vegetable, and flower gardens, and a play area for children under the Magnolia, in which each individual would be encouraged to participate. These gardens would benefit the mothers and children as well as others who live on that street. Who wouldn’t rather look at flowers and trees than buildings? Nature is a great healer and even if gardening isn’t one of her interests, living with access to one is.  In addition to the above we will have chickens, a workshop/potting shed, greenhouse, lath house, plus other ideas we are working on!  To encourage good nutrition each mother will have a garden plot of her own to grow what she likes and her children will have the same in the Children’s Garden area, that they can create on their own, with a little help!  We will have Master Gardeners available for teaching, as this will be a Teaching Garden and all will take part in maintaining it so their knowledge can be taken with them to their next home!

 

Our Organic Garden Areas

I don’t know one person who does not enjoy just “getting out” for a walk, read, or just be by themselves. This area would provide that capability. The common area between the apartments and the housemother’s unit will have play areas for the children, a patio, flowers, and a central walkway.

This type of housing is an important need in our area and having a place centrally located between Clinton and Oak Ridge would help single mothers from these two cities and the surrounding areas get their feet back on the ground and headed in the right direction. One poor choice or bad experience should not keep them from going to school, getting a decent job, or being a good mother, but not having a place to live could.  When completed Crossroads Center of Hope will be the only long-term transitional housing and emergency single available in Anderson County.

The results of this is all around us and we need to give these women a chance to be a productive part of our communities and be proud of their accomplishments and Crossroads Ministry wants to be one of those organizations doing just that.

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