SEYMOUR — A few weeks after a fall fundraiser, Todd’s Transitional Housing Inc. officials hoped to open the doors and begin helping men recover from addictions.
But after inspections by the health department and fire marshal, husband-and-wife Kristopher Hunley and Angie Coomer-Hunley discovered a lot of work needed to be done before that could happen.
The building, which once housed Community Care Center and had been empty for 15 years, needed new sprinkler and fire alarm systems. Also, the hood suppression system in the kitchen, water lines and water heaters needed to be replaced; some electrical work had to be done; and doors, windows and ceiling tiles needed to be fixed.
The facility, also known as Todd’s Place, was able to open its doors about nine months later at 4990 N. U.S. 31, Seymour. A grand opening was held June 9.
Story continues below gallery
The Hunleys agreed one thing helped them along the way — determination.
“No matter what, he never gave up, and he has worked so hard, 100 percent determination to follow through,” said Coomer-Hunley, assistant director of operations.
“She said she had never seen so much determination in somebody to help people make something happen,” said Hunley, director of operations. “That’s because somebody went out of their way to help me and get me to where I’m at today. Things take time, and we just stood firm and kept showing up.”
When he was involved in The Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation program, Hunley set a goal of opening his own recovery facility.
He had been involved with drugs off and on for about 25 years, winding up with 19 felony charges against him and shuffling in and out of jails more than 30 times.
He went to The Salvation Army in 2010 before landing in a transitional house in Salem, but he reverted to drugs after the death of his first wife.
In 2012, he returned to The Salvation Army and has kept drugs out of his life since then. He met Daniel Trosch during his two stints there and shared his plans of opening a facility close to his hometown of Austin.
Coomer-Hunley’s cousin, Grover Stacey, owns the former Community Care Center building and helped begin renovations to make Todd’s Place a reality.
Even though the opening was delayed, Hunley said it’s worth it when he sees men starting to make a difference in their lives.
“I would work 12, 14 hours a day sometimes,” he said. “It kept me motivated because I would look at those beds and know how many lives were going to be changed. I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. Now, we’re to the easy part — to see the fruits of the labor.”
In the past nine months, Hunley said they have sent 32 men to The Salvation Army, and Coomer-Hunley has helped connect some women with resources. They also made connections in the community, including someone who donated a van and a local manufacturer that stepped up to provide jobs for residents.
“That’s just God making connections,” Hunley said. “God has blessed us with so many resources.”
Resident manager Tim Baker also joined the staff to help take care of residents once the facility opened. Hunley had met him at The Salvation Army.
The facility has more than 50 rooms and will hold more than 100 men. But Hunley said he wants to start out small, putting the maximum at 10 men.
The staff has developed a core curriculum, including career building, relapse prevention, group therapy, Bible study, Celebrate Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Take the Steps (12 steps of recovery), Fixing My Finances and one-on-one counseling.
Residents are required to attend classes throughout the week and Bible study once a week. They also have to find a job within the first two weeks.
The men are asked to commit to the facility for six months, but Hunley has had to release three men from the program.
“The first two requirements to be in here are a willingness to change and a relationship with God,” he said. “If I can’t get past those two with them, then we’ve got to do something different. This is God’s house, and God put me in authority over it, and if you’re being disobedient to me, you’re being disobedient to him. I’ve told every one of them, ‘This is not a revolving door and a flophouse.’”
Todd’s Place staff members all have been through some type of addiction and treatment, so they are able to relate to the residents.
“I know exactly what they feel and where they’re at,” Hunley said. “They can’t look at me and say, ‘You don’t know what I’m going through’ because most of them know I’ve been there. That’s why the Lord has made this happen. We’ve showed faithfulness, we’ve showed trustworthiness with those little things, and now, he’s blessing us and is going to trust us with guys’ lives.”
Hunley-Coomer, who is 16 months sober from alcohol, said she is lucky to have met her husband when she did. Now, through Todd’s Place, she is able to see others overcome addictions.
“It is a true blessing to see someone come in here sick and not feeling good and turn around and see them smile,” she said. “I can’t even explain that. It’s just a wonderful feeling to see someone getting better and healthier.”
A six-member board of directors also has been formed. That consists of five area pastors and a bank manager, who provides financial expertise to the board and will set up savings accounts for the men and help them manage their money.
“God has put everything in place,” Hunley said. “We want to get (the residents) programmed to be productive citizens and live a good life.”
Hunley said future goals include opening a women’s transitional facility in Crothersville and some type of facility in Salem.
Zach Spicer is a staff writer for The Tribune of Seymour, a sister publication of The Republic.
Todd’s Transitional Housing Inc., also known as Todd’s Place, is located at 4990 N. U.S. 31, Seymour. The facility, described as a place for healing and new beginnings for men suffering from various types of addictions, opened May 23.
Its motto: “When we help a man, we help a family. When we help a family, we help a neighborhood. When we help a neighborhood, we have been effective in our community.”