And now, faced with retiring a debt of $170,2000 owed to the federal government for a loan through HUD, the Greencastle Housing Authority could find itself homeless.
The 309 E. Franklin St. building that houses its offices -- and was the site of this past weekend's Giving Tree operation so vital to the local Christmas effort -- is on the market in an attempt to pay off that six-figure debt to HUD.
The former grocery store (IGA and later Red & White) was also formerly site of the A-Way Home shelter that opened in July 1996 and closed Sept. 10, 2011 after serving more than 2,500 homeless people over 15 years.
During its last year and more of operations, money from the HUD grant was used to pay salaries and keep the operation going at the shelter. However, it was an apparent misunderstanding between HUD officials and shelter authorities that allowed such use of the funds, officials say.
For now, HUD "has been very specific that the funds should not have been used that way," GHA Executive Director Nicole Christlieb told the Banner Graphic in announcing the effort under way to make repayment.
That effort includes a Community Bargain Sale Monday (today) and Tuesday at the former shelter, from 5-7 p.m. both days. It is a name-your-own-price sale, she said, "as long as that price is reasonable."
"We have to sell off the assets of the shelter to pay HUD back," she explained.
Bargain-hunters will find toys, bunk beds, school supplies, clothing and both wooden and metal shelving available.
Tuesday will be the final day for the sale. Things that remain after that will be donated to Goodwill.
If the GHA doesn't pay back the loan, Christlieb said, it will not be allowed to operate the voucher program that assists less-fortunate local residents in funding adequate housing.
The GHA is due to start paying HUD back on Feb. 1, and the future of the voucher program is in jeopardy as part of that HUD repayment agreement, Christlieb explained.
Meanwhile, the GHJA office building at Franklin and Locust streets has a for-sale sign out front and is listed for sale by Carpenter Realtors.
The building has been appraised at $215,000, Christlieb said.