What started as a vision and became a reality that has helped hundreds of women needs a little help from the community.
Hosanna House, a place of new beginnings, has to repair its roof to the tune of $70,000.
“Fortunately we had enough to make a commitment to get started. But we’re at the point now where we have to go to the bank and borrow money, unless we can get some donations,” said Jerry Ogle, founder of Hosanna House.
The building located at the corner of Calhoun Avenue and Forest Street is more than 70 years old. It has a long history as a house of worship in Destin, first as the Baptist Church, then the Presbyterian Church followed by the Family Fellowship, pastored by Phil Troullos.
Jerry and Claire Ogle bought the facility in 2007 with plans to turn it into a haven for women.
“We wanted to build a place that could make a real difference in a woman’s life that needed help," Jerry said. "A woman who had been beaten up and beaten down, just thrown away and needed a new start in life. A place of new beginnings for women.”
Hosanna House, a non-profit, was birthed out of a vision Jerry had for Destin in the mid-1980s.
“It was a simple thing. There were a lot of people that I saw in Destin that needed help,” he said.
The vision was for food, clothing and shelter for those in need.
In 1987 they started Harvest House, which supplied food and clothing.
Then about 13 years ago, “We got serious about the third part of the vision … which was shelter,” Jerry said.
“We knew we didn’t just want a shelter for women," he added. "We knew we wanted to help women because we saw them everyday at Harvest House. All we could do was give them a hot meal, bus ticket or a night in a hotel … and all we were doing was putting a patch on a big problem.”
Thus, Hosanna House was birthed – the sister ministry of Harvest House.
After the purchase of Family Fellowship, they had to get a building permit before they could start renovations because of the change in use of the building.
“It wasn’t a church anymore, it was a women’s center,” Jerry said.
And it took a couple of years to gut and rebuild the facility.
They persevered and opened the doors on Sept. 11, 2010, and are now heading into their 10th year of helping women.
Since then they have helped “a couple of hundred” women, Claire said.
“Women in the community have come in for counseling, teaching all kinds of things,” she said. “We want women in this house who are serious about changing their lives.
“We expect you to be clean at least six months before you come in here … then we can do the real work,” she said.
Hosanna House is also not a shelter.
Claire explained that when you have a shelter, people are coming in and out all the time and you don’t have time to help them and get to the bottom of what the real problem is.
“We want to minister to the whole person,” Claire said, noting this ministry is based on Isaiah 61, which talks about healing the brokenhearted and delivering the captive.
Women are expected to get a job, pay her bills and save money for the future when she leaves the house.
At the house, the women have individual bedrooms and share a kitchen, bathroom and living room. Some women have come in with children as well.
The Ogles house women a minimum of six months and have had some stay as long as two years, because children were involved.
Claire encourages women to take advantage of their time there because it goes quickly. She said she has had women that didn’t want to leave when their time was up.
“This is not just a housing thing,” she said. “We are dealing with women who have been hurt by life circumstances … and they want help and are willing to do what it takes to get that help. Almost every woman who has left here has left with something.”