CINCINNATI -- A Price Hill duplex that was vacant and boarded up a year ago has now been remodeled into a safe house for children whose families aren't as stable as they might like.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine helped cut the ribbon at EPOH -- "hope" spelled backward -- Wednesday after BLOC Ministries finished the remodeling.
The house has separate supervised living units for boys and girls. They have to go to school each day and BLOC doesn't take custody of the children.
"The long term is, it puts the family back together," BLOC Ministries founder and director Dwight Young said. "The short term is, it allows the student not to drop out of school, get behind, find themselves lost and getting on the street."
Kenton Siler is one of the EPOH success stories. Family illnesses sent him to the homes of relatives and friends.
"It definitely wasn't comfortable," Siler said. "It was always a sense of anxiety, just trying to figure out what was going to happen the next day."
But then EPOH provided stability and mentoring. Siler graduated from Dater High School and now attends Cincinnati Christian University, and wants to work for BLOC.
"I expressed my deepest gratitude for what they were able to do for me and I want to give back the way they've given back to me," Siler said.
Andrew Farie was Siler's mentor.
"Living with him and watching him grow has been amazing," Farie said. "Seeing who he was and who he is now -- there's a story behind that and a dream."
All the remodeling for the new EPOH house was done by BLOC crews, down to milling the spindles for the staircase. DeWine's office chipped in $250,000 in mortgage settlement funds to help.
DeWine said not helping homeless children now could cost taxpayers later.
"They're not going to contribute to society," he said. "They're not going to live up to their full God-given potential, and when they don't live up to their potential, the state doesn't live up to its potential."
BLOC's next big project is a fitness and training center that could help children from the neighborhood get college scholarships.