Lebanon motel to be converted into short-term homeless shelter

Family Promise of Warren County is planning to convert the Shaker Inn motel into a temporary shelter for homeless families. ED RICHTER/STAFF
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Family Promise of Warren County is planning to convert the Shaker Inn motel into a temporary shelter for homeless families. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Non-profit group aims to help struggling families get on their feet in 90 days

A motel in Lebanon may soon become a shelter to serve homeless families and children in Warren County.

Family Promise of Warren County, formerly known as Interfaith Hospitality Network, entered a contract with ITS Lebanon LLC to purchase the Shaker Inn property at 600 Cincinnati Ave., said Greg Orosz, Lebanon’s city planner.

The nonprofit organization is seeking to rezone the motel parcel, about 2.73 acres, to R-2 residential Planned Unit Development, from a larger parcel that is currently zoned I-1 light industrial. During a public hearing held Tuesday, there were no public comments for or against the proposed zoning change.

The larger parcel of 8.23 acres currently has a storage facility, and undeveloped land will continue to be owned by ITS Lebanon will remain zoned for light industrial uses.

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Orosz said Family Promise of Warren County is planning to use the northeastern portion of the motel for a day center and offices for staff. He said the central portion of the building, consisting of a registration office, on-site manager’s apartment, and storage will be the focal point for 24-hour supervision and maintenance.

The western portion of the motel, about 20 rooms, will be used to temporarily house client families.

“They are well-known throughout the community for their good community service work,” Orosz said of Family Promise.

Linda Rabolt, the nonprofit’s executive director, said the program is to help Warren County families without a home.

“This is something they did not choose to do,” she said. “They are not using drugs or alcohol. These are families who have fallen into bad times because of COVID or something else. We provide a helping hand so these families can move on with their lives, get employed, be self-sustaining, be good citizens and be better parents in 90 days.”

Last month, Lebanon’s Planning Commission recommended the zoning change to Lebanon City Council, which gave the ordinance a first reading. A second reading and vote on the rezoning is slated for council’s Nov. 23 meeting.

Orosz said after the rezoning is completed, Family Promise will have to submit a conditional use application for the temporary housing to the Planning Commission before it can operate.

Vice Mayor Mark Messer said he’s really excited about this, adding, “it’s a perfect use for the property.”

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