WASECA — New Hope Board and Lodge is looking to fill a service gap in Waseca.
It is a residential service for female adults 18 and older with a mental illness diagnosis or dual disorders such as chemical and alcohol dependency.
This lodging service is new to town and currently has one resident in the house that has a capacity of nine.
“We came to Waseca to expand on what we do,” co-owner Kody Schendel said. “We did a lot of research on a good area that we think would be beneficial to the recovery community. Waseca already has a male house (Alex’s House) and they also have a female with children house which is the Bethlehem Inn and so we saw a need for just a women’s only house and that’s why we started this.”
Schendel and Heather Paulson are the owners of New Hope Board and Lodge in Waseca along with two other male houses in Mankato.
“It’s (the home) really central in Waseca for us,” Paulson said. “I mean we have Walmart down the street, gas stations, the courthouse, the hospital you know the House of Hope and some of the residents won’t have their driver’s licenses so it might be biking or walking, so we had to take all of that into account when we were trying to find a place for the house.”
Creating a home
After finding the right location, they wanted to give the house a home feel. Schendel and Paulson wanted the residents to feel comfortable in the New Hope Board and Lodge and to feel that they could be themselves. Though they want residents to feel at home there are still rules they must follow in order to be there.
“Stability, organization and accountability are huge in our houses,” Schendel said.
There are no employees placed at the home 24/7, but Schendel and Paulson drop by at any time and there are 24/7 surveillance cameras all around the house. This is to give the residents more freedom.
New Hope Board and Lodge is considered temporary housing for people to transition through. Schendel said from experience a resident stays for about six months.
No violent offenders will be residing at the New Hope Board and Lodge, but if there are problems or rules are broken residents can be removed from the house.
If they are not willing to follow the rules or are not a good fit to the home, the resident is given a 30-day eviction notice. If the resident has a physical altercation or fails a drug or alcohol test then she is removed immediately.
In the process of being removed, the resident’s team consisting of her case worker, financial worker and family are notified.
“The neighbors, we want them to feel safe as wel. It’s not a bad thing what we’re doing,” Paulson said.
“They’re people just like we are, and treat them like a neighbor, because that’s what everyone is at the end of the day,” Schendel said. “So I don’t want everybody to feel like they should be treated different or that the women here are any different because they’re not…”
This transitional housing follows strict Minnesota guidelines as far as house requirements and requirements of who is allowed to live in the house. When looking for a spot in Waseca they looked at several locations because there are certain criteria that the house has to meet.
“There are a lot of requirements, you can’t just go pick a house. There are requirements,” Schendel said. “We looked at multiple houses and they all have to meet criteria and our own criteria. We wanted something that was roomy and to feel homey and there are state requirements that limit the type of house you can purchase...It’s not very easy and it takes months to go through all of it.”
After finding the right house Paulson and Schendel take referrals from every county in Minnesota. They have also been working with local entities Drug Court and House of Hope for referrals.
“We get referrals from outpatient and inpatient programs, the House of Hope is actually one of our biggest referral programs over in Mankato and so in February the House of Hope expanded over to Waseca and we kind of saw it as an opportunity to grow with them,” Paulson said.
In order to be referred, the applicant must be eligible to receive Housing Support.
All 87 counties in Minnesota allocate funds for housing support from the State of Minnesota and the county that the resident resided in prior to moving to the New Hope Board and Lodge covers the funds.
The taxpayers of Waseca County are not directly responsible for this cover if the residents are from another county.
“We didn’t come to Waseca expecting money or for the residents to pay. That’s not how the program works,” Schendel said. “It’s all allocated through the State and it’s through the counties and it’s not necessarily through this (Waseca) county…”
Process to open
In order to start New Hope Board and Lodge in Waseca, Schendel and Paulson had to do an interview with Minnesota Prairie County Alliance.
“We’re working with the city to provide this house as a resource to people in recovery,” Paulson said.
Once in contact with MNPrairie they came and toured the New Hope Board and Lodge houses in Mankato to get to know Schendel and Paulson and what the business is all about. MNPrairie had to approve of New Hope Board and Lodge after extensive interviews on the business in order for the house to come to Waseca.
“We went and worked through the channels that we needed to go through to get to where we are,” Schendel said.
Since opening in Waseca Schendel and Paulson have been networking with organizations in town to provide sober networking events or groups for the residents to partake in.
“We just want everyone to know that we are here to help,” Schendel said. “We didn’t come here asking for anything from anybody in town, we just want to help people and we thought Waseca would be a welcoming place with all of the resources to have a successful home here to do it. As time goes on, everybody will see that the program works, that every woman that comes through this house is going to do their best, going to get better and we want the community to support that and understand that.”