This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
Jennifer Waller and a team of volunteers have begun the renovations to the Soldotna home that will be used as the men’s Freedom House location.
Waller, the founder of Freedom House, a faith-based women’s recovery home, is determined to open the same kind of facility for area men struggling with addictions and hopes to have it up and running in the next couple of months.
“Opening in February would be my goal,” Waller said. “I would be happy with that.”
To make men’s Freedom House a reality, Waller needed to secure her ideal location, which is the home at 167 Warehouse Drive in Soldotna. The site is close to emergency services and within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses along the Sterling Highway.Last month, Waller announced Freedom House was one step closer to securing the Soldotna home after an anonymous elderly couple offered to purchase the home for the nonprofit.
Since November, legal issues poked holes in the plan for the donation. Waller said her lawyers were concerned that if and when the anonymous donors entered a nursing or assisted living home, the state could potentially seize their assets, including the Soldotna home, to cover costs of care. Waller also noted she couldn’t give receipts to volunteers as a nonprofit if their building wasn’t also owned by a nonprofit.
These legal hiccups didn’t stop Waller from making progress on the expansion of Freedom House. The anonymous donors offered Waller the $250,000 in the form of a low-interest loan with a low monthly payment, which gave Waller the ability to purchase the home and get to work with renovations.
Waller said the renovations were estimated to cost around $200,000, but may now cost $250,000.
“We’ve got a lot of work done already,” Waller said.
To make Freedom House for men a reality, Waller said she needs volunteers to help with the renovations. One electrician is donating $20,000 worth of time and equipment, and others are helping out with general labor. Specifically, Waller said she needs help from tile layers and home cooks who could help feed crews of 15-20 people. Waller said interested volunteers can email or call Freedom House at email@example.com or 907-260-3703.
Waller said she hopes she will be able to open the men’s Freedom House in time for the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser on Feb. 23.