Mental Health Board to reopen Village House

Feb 20, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

MHRSB is working to reopen the Village House in Fremont, a supervised visitation and exchange center for children and their non-resident parent.

BY SHERI TRUSTY

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties (MHRSB) offers a myriad of different prevention, treatment and recovery services that meet needs across the four-county area. It is led by a competent and compassionate staff that addresses a wide range of issues, from opioid and gambling addictions to suicide prevention and veteran assistance.

Now, MHRSB is thinking outside the box as it accepts a request from the Sandusky County Commissioners to reopen Village House, a supervised visitation and exchange center for children and their non-resident parent.

For years, Village House met a critical need in Sandusky County as a safe and comfortable place for children to connect with their parents, but after facing financial struggles, it closed its doors in August, 2023. The closure left a void in the community, and the Sandusky County Commissioners turned to MHRSB for help.

“The commissioners identified the mental health board as the best organization to step in to help, and I agreed,” said MHRSB Executive Director Mircea Handru. “This is not a core service we normally provide, but I feel these services are very needed. We are grateful for the confidence that the other public agencies have in us to get this service back up and running.”

MHRSB is working collaboratively on the project with the Sandusky County Commissioners, Sandusky County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Sandusky County Juvenile Court, Sandusky County Children’s Services and Sandusky County Family and Children First Council.

“On behalf of the Sandusky County Commissioner’s Office, we would like to thank the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and all the other public entities in Sandusky County who are working hard to reopen Village House,” said Commissioner Russ Zimmerman. “The services provided at Village House are critical for families in Sandusky County. I would also like to thank the Village House board of trustees and staff for all of their years of service to Sandusky County families.”

The Village House building is owned by St. Ann Catholic Parish, and MHRSB signed a five-year lease for the building that will become effective on March 1. This spring, MHRSB will renovate the building thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Sandusky County Board of DD. Renovations will include handicap accessibility upgrades and the creation of a sensory room.

Renovations are expected to take three or four months, with a projected reopening of Village House sometime this summer.

MHRSB Executive Director Mircea Handru is grateful that the Village House will offer another opportunity for MHRSB to impact local families.

“The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board’s takeover of the Village House, a longstanding institution since 1995, brings a promise of continuity and expansion in services beyond supervised visitation and exchanges for families,” said Village House Interim Director Missy Morales. “As someone who has dedicated years to the Village House, the transition under their guidance appears promising, with assurances of maintaining the organization’s mission while also enhancing its offerings. Their proactive approach signals a commitment to a seamless integration that prioritizes the well-being of the community served by the Village House.”

Although the Village House is outside the scope of its typical service programs, Handru is thankful that MHRSB has another opportunity to impact local families.

“Our goal is to continue to provide exchange and visitation services for families in Sandusky County. We are working hard, with assistance from many other public agencies and the county commissioners, to renovate the facility and open services as soon as possible,” Handru said. “Village House made a positive impact in the lives of many families. I would like to thank St. Ann Church and the Village House board for trusting our ability to take the mission from this point forward.”

For more information on Village House, contact the MHRSB office at 419-448-0640.

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