Isaiah 117 House seeks community support as it expands into Washington County

The Isaiah 117 House is continuing its expansion into neighboring counties, and it needs the community’s support in order to see it through.

Founder Ronda Paulson said they already secured the funding to purchase a home in Washington County thanks to Fringe Furniture, but the home itself is not the end of the story.

“We believe in opening our doors debt-free,” Paulson said.

To that end, the Isaiah 117 House is looking to raise roughly $75,000 so it can fund the house’s first budget year, doing so in part with a luncheon they held at Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City Thursday.

The fundraisers come after a period of rapid growth for the non-profit, who started up in January 2017 and moved into their first home in June 2018, right in Elizabethton.

Now, a little over a year later, the organization will have three new locations open in East Tennessee by the end of 2019, with plans underway for a dozen other counties to get involved.

“I am amazed at the generosity of God’s people,” she said. “This rapid growth is because the need is that great.”

The Isaiah 117 House works alongside Child Protective Services to house children legally separated from their parents, whether it be due to abuse, neglect or other life scenarios.

She said these departments often become overwhelmed with the number of children they have to manage, which is where the non-profit comes in to provide an alternative.

“We have a foster care epidemic across the state,” Paulson said.

Within unmarked homes, children waiting in the foster care system can live in an environment that more closely resembles ordinary life.

For those who missed the luncheon, there are other ways to contribute to the organization, both towards the Washington County location and others. Those looking to donate can visit their website at isaiah117house.com or mail checks to Isaiah 117 House, P.O. Box 842, Elizabethton, TN 37644.

“If you want to stock the house, we are now registered at Target,” Paulson said. “First name Isaiah, last name House.”

She said she believes directing this non-profit is her God-given calling, and it means a great deal to see the community pitching in to keep the dream alive.

“It is so cool to watch God [intervene] in a tangible way,” she said. “He has always been a God of the marginalized. It is who He is.”

Paulson said they plan on hosting the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Washington County location on September 17. The Greene County location plans to open in November of this year, and the Sullivan County location plans to open in the spring of 2020.

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