Swan House helps 14 homeless women restart their lives

CINCINNATI - Thanks to a driven Elder and a local church ministry,homeless women now have a place to go to help better theirlives.

The Swan House, a shelter located in Evanston will take fourteenhomeless women, get them off the street and provide them withshelter, food, clothing and education.

The idea was created by Elder Nathanial Banks of RefreshingSprings Church in West Chester, who said God gave him a vision togive less fortunate women a fresh start for their lives.

"The vision was to take women who feel like they're ugly tounderstand the concept of the ugly duckling. It had an ugliness,and one day it found this beauty and that's what we want thesewomen to know, they are beautiful and God loves them," Bankssaid.

Pastor Banks and members from the "I Am Somebody Ministry" atMontgomery Community Baptist Church started a project, that willcompletely renovate a home.

The project took four years and was funded through localdonations.

"We did outreach in the community, we went to differentchurches...we had Montgomery Community Church, we've have EphiphanyUnited Methodist Church and St. Columbian who have all graciouslygiven through donations, whether it be monetary. I mean that's whatit's all about," said Gina Johnson, Head Solicitor for theproject.

The fourteen women will be chosen by board members after arigorous application process. Residents of the home, will not onlyreceive shelter, but also job training and one on onementoring.

"It's a second chance, it's an opportunity to make a differencein their lives and for them to make a difference in themselves, youknow I mean, I want them to go, step out and give it back also,Johnson said.

"It's not about putting a bandaid on a hemorrhage. We arelooking at these women, healing from the inside out and werecognize that they did not get in these situations overnight. It'sgoing to take time, for the healing process to occur, so we'retrying to approach it from a holistic standpoint," said ChandraMathews-Smith.

Monetary donations can be sent to: I Am Somebody Ministries,Inc. P.O. Box 46943, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246. Other services arealso needed. For more information, contact the organization at(513) 531-9111.

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