The Student News Source of Sparkman High School

History Of Nora’s House

March 13, 2018

It is not just a program. It is a home and a family. Nora’s house is a part of 305 8th Street for women with diverse disabilities who require 24 hour supervision, assistance with medications and managing their daily routines. The house currently has six residents.

Nora’s house sits on the grounds of Ms. Nora Greens previous home.. Nora contacted DHR daily about the situations going on around 305.

“Nora had a large garden in which she shared food with the neighborhood, especially her 305 extended family. She had fruit trees on the property that she would share and make jellies and  jams for the residents. She had a good loving heart, but was often misunderstood because of her firmness in expressing right from wrong,” Wellness Supervisor Kay Morton said. “The property was purchased from her son after her passing, and he donated to 305.It now is a new home named in her honor. Her love for the residents now has grown into providing them a home even after her passing, she is still helping take care of them from the sidelines.”

Morton is now known as Momma Kay to the residents of 305. She moved next door to 305 in 1997 in what is now a MOMS house (Meals, Observation, Medication) for residents who need a little help but can still remain independent.

“ I saw Sheila, a resident across the yard, and recognized her as my cousin that I had not seen since I was four. I called out her name and I introduced myself and explained we were cousins.

She said with her hands on her hips ” I don’t know about that, I will have to call my Momma,” Morton said. “ I was a neighbor to them before working at 305. The resident’s visited my home often. Before going to work at 305 as I worked in my yard, they would often jump in helping plant flowers and such. The love for them started growing each day just as the flowers we planted together.”

Executive Director Andrea Williams’ great grandmother, Irene,  opened the home in 1979. After Irene passed, Williams’ grandparents,  Gordon and Inez Bastin, kept the doors to 305 open. The house was state funded until 1990. The Bastin’s ran the home until their death in 1999. The organization was in disarray until Williams’ took over in 2008.

The house became broken after the loss of my grandparents. The glue of them that held it together started deteriorating over the years leaving a dilapidated shell of a home and a vulnerable population of adults severely neglected and unsupervised,” Williams  said. “At the time, I was a volunteer board member. We met off-site for a once a year meeting. Our by-laws were not properly defined and not meeting at the home, board members who didn’t visit didn’t see the decline. I made my way to 305 to visit because I missed my grandparents.  I visited most days after school and the residents I spent time with were my friends. I was shocked to find some of my friends still lived there.on hand to do it with. Being we were neighbors before becoming their caregiver, Resident’s was comfortable visiting my home.”  

At the time, Andrea was only 27-years-old with two small children. She could have called DHR to remove the residents and closed the doors, but she saw it as a calling to keep the doors open.

“ Andrea had a different dream when getting her masters degree in communication, but God had a different vision for her. This is how she became known as “the Angel who saved 3058th Street,” Morton said. “ After getting a few people got on board with helping they  later became Board Members, Andrea needed day to day help with someone cooking and caring for the resident’s while she secured funds to keep the doors open.”

The homes have undergone many changes since 2007.  Williams sees to it that the residents  never go to bed hungry or worry about where their next meal will come from. They have extended family to call their own who love them beyond measure. They have a safe, clean, structurally sound home now. They have a full staff that works tirelessly to make sure their needs are met

“ Each day is a walk of faith that the funding will be provided to keep the doors open to those that call 305, Nora’s House, and MOMS homes open. Each resident makes walking in a blessing. I am blessed to be a part of the staff and leaders of 305, and Momma Kay to the Resident’s,” Morton said. “If the world was like the people who call 305 home, what a beautiful place it would be to live in. Each have their own story about their journey to 305, but the one thing they have in common is they now have a place to call home, and a sense of belonging without judgement and with being reminded each day of their worth. My favorite part of working at 305 is seeing the residents smile, and hearing their laughter. Knowing each day I am blessed to be a part of something so unique in helping those who often help me more than they realize.

In 2007 a few females were being discharged for their behavior so  Nora’s House was born. This project took some time to develop, but when Lynn Dowling rolled up her sleeves to help with the grant writing process, the Jane K. Lowe Foundation awarded the organization a grant of $100,000. An additional $40,000  was generated to completely build the home new.The existing structure was torn down and Nora’s House opened in September 2017.

“ Nora’s House as a member of this community I feel so blessed to say we made a difference for six  women, four of which were on our waiting list for three years. It is the residents who make my job a blessing and the problem at hand that keeps me going.  Vulnerable adults with disabilities should not be stopped at an imaginary line of services. My goal is to think outside the box and create program and services that assist all individuals denied state waivered services,” Williams said. “  My Grandmother always said, “they do more for me than I do for them.” The biggest lesson I have learned is having faith is not a pipe dream. Residents and their stories continue to amaze me. Their strengths and resilience to their personal situations in comparison to mine made me feel small for thinking the way I had about life.  And working here, looking at our budget…one would have to have faith to be crazy enough to keep going.”

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