- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

MAPLETON, Iowa (AP) - Mapleton’s five churches have joined together to maintain an emergency house that’s available to anyone who needs shelter.

The house is near St. John’s Methodist Church. A member of the church bought the property and donated it to St. John’s, and the initial plan was raze the house to provide more church parking.

But the pastor at the time and congregation had a change of heart and sought a higher purpose for the two-bedroom structure.

“The former minister said there’s too much life left in it. Let’s use it until it falls down,” the current pastor, Jena Manchester, told the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1JfsEqJ ). “Well, this little house has a lot of life left,”

It was dubbed God’s Little House and has provided rent-free, temporary shelter for people since 2008. The house is furnished, and those who stay there only pay for the utilities used.



Since 2008, the home has been used 18 times. Guests included those who lost their homes to a 2011 tornado, while others were just passing through town and needed a place to stay. The home is available as long as they need it.

“They don’t have to be from any religion. They don’t have to be from any town,” said Lawrence Nelson, president of the board that maintains the house. “If they have no place to stay, we won’t push anybody out.”

Nelson said that as other churches in town found out about the house, they wanted to take part, too. Mapleton’s five churches each provide two members for a 10-person board of directors, and they work summers in the concession stand at the city’s ballfields to raise money to maintain the house.

Donations also come in from churches, individuals and businesses in Mapleton and elsewhere.

“Everybody in town is doing their best to make this thing workable,” Nelson said.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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