Oct. 17, the Madras Gospel Mission received approval from the city planning commission to open two local homes for women and children.
   Located in a residential area, the two adjoining homes were purchased with a federal block grant from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2. Both are three-bedroom homes.
   MGM requested that photos of the homes not be published, to ensure the privacy and safety of the future residents.
   Director of ministry Mark Harner said MGM will operate the homes, "as a safe place for women and women with children, who need a supportive environment where they can heal from their struggles and receive a helping hand to prepare for a better future."
   Harner said the facility will not be run as women's shelter, with numerous women coming and going. "The properties will be used in the same way as any other residence in the community -- as a home for a family," he said.
   "The difference is that a needy individual will come to live temporarily (in a place) where someone deeply loves and cares for them. There will be a housemother to oversee every aspect of life while staying at the home to help these (women) regroup," he explained.
   "What these women and children need is a safe and quiet neighborhood. All individuals who will live at the sites will be prescreened to assure a good fit with the neighborhood and assistance we can provide," he added.
   Group training for life skills and job skills will be conducted at another location -- the MGM Community Center on D Street. Family skills will be developed through the daily household activities of cooking, laundry, cleaning, child care and general household maintenance.
   Dana Harner, women's ministry coordinator for MGM, is busy getting the homes set up and furnished.
   Current needs include six sets of standard bunk beds, and two sets of bunk beds with a double bunk on the bottom and single on top.
   Also needed are six dressers, one couch, two small tables to use as a kitchen island, as there is not much counter space, everyday dishes, and mixing bowls.
   She is also looking for women interested in volunteering as mentors, daytime and overnight relief workers, home hosts, full-time housemothers, drivers, and clerical workers.
   To donate furnishings or volunteer, contact Dana Harner at 541-460-0979.
   For more information about Madras Gospel Mission visit its website at, or visit the mission's Facebook page. For additional information, contact Mark Harner, the director of ministry, at 541-475-2064.
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