Samaritan House

The Samaritan House opened in 1987 as a shelter for single women and families. Will and Ester Rubenstein donated the home as an emergency shelter for struggling families. The Samaritan House accepts single women, mothers, and families, but single men are 21generally referred to other shelters in the area. After two years of construction, thousands of volunteer hours, and many heartfelt prayers, the dream of a new Samaritan House Family Ministries facility became a reality in 2013.

The new 12,600 square foot shelter rests on 10.22 acres donated by Jay Moser. The main floor has multiple functions. It stands as an office space for staff, a common kitchen/dining area for residents, and an outreach area for the community. The upstairs houses four family suites, a dorm area, a single staff room, two staff apartments, a play area for resident children, a common area for resident families, and an oversized laundry room. Two additional rooms will be developed at a later date. This new facility can serve an average of 55 families each year, which totals about 115 individuals.

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Residents are required to save 80% of their income during their stay in an effort to pay all deposits when they find a permanent housing. Each family is allotted a 45 day stay based on need and availability. Every family is allowed to stay as long as they follow the rules and show a persistent work ethic towards goals such as better jobs or more stable circumstances. Extensions of stay can be provided depending on availability and the situation. Each family is also commissioned to work on individual development goals during their stay such as job plans and permanent housing. While at the Samaritan House, all adults must be looking for employment unless they are disabled or child care is cost prohibitive. Children must also be enrolled in school. Families are required to participate in chores in order to help maintain the home area and rotate with meal preparation.

12Following the guidelines set by a warm Christian atmosphere, Tuesday Night Bible Study happens every week. Local churches provide the evening’s meal as well as a devotional time for both children and adults. Here are some additional little known facts about the Samaritan House Family Ministries facility. There are walking trails around the grounds that add up to about half a mile. Along with a children’s play area, two pavilions line the grounds with raised garden areas.

The Samaritan House Family Ministries center also has the only documented case of a geothermal utility in an abandoned mineshaft. This is a hidden blessing for the Samaritan House; the abandoned mineshaft has been transformed into a geothermal heating and cooling system for the entire building. The shaft itself is over 800 feet deep, but it is filled with over 600 feet of water. The natural temperature underground keeps a consistent temperature of 54° Fahrenheit within the shaft in order to balance temperatures within the area. This system has already paid for itself in savings. A national research company is in the process of studying the results of this geothermal system for five years following its development. An article has already been submitted for publication about findings in the first year.

For questions, or comments call:  Angie Burgess,
Samaritan House Coordinator – 865-475-5032 or email Angie Burgess at samhouse@aoministry.org