The 40 families that comprise Trinity United Church of Christ saw the vacant house they owned as a challenge.

The 40 families that comprise Trinity United Church of Christ saw the vacant house they owned as a challenge.

The house, which formerly had been the site of an outreach program for the homeless, was left empty when that program moved several years ago. Since then, the church, 1180 Shanley Drive, has worked to save money to open the house as a home for terminally ill people who have nowhere else to go.

"The house was empty, so we were looking for something that would be a good ministry," said the church's pastor, Norman Moxley.

The idea is that the house, dubbed Trinity House, would offer 24-hour medical care to those who are terminally ill who lack adequate housing or who can't afford a nursing home, Moxley said.

The advantage to staying in the house, he said, is that church members would provide residents with a family atmosphere.

"The church can come over and spend time with you, play games with you all the things that make you feel that you're not alone in your journey," Moxley said.

He said he saw the need for such a place while he was working with other hospice programs as a chaplain.

"Sometimes the people who are thought of least are the very young and the very old," Moxley said. "It's probably one of the most needed (ministries) when you think of the price people have to pay to go into an assisted living facility."

Moxley said the church estimates that it would take $200,000 to cover Trinity House's first two years of operation. He said the aim is to raise that much money before opening the facility. After that, he said, organizers believe the operation would sustain itself.

So far, Moxley said the church has collected donations for about one-fifth of the money needed. The biggest challenge in fundraising, he said, is that there aren't any similar facilities in the area to provide potential patrons with an idea of how the operation would work.

"Sometimes it's hard to convince them that this is a good use of their funds because there's nothing like this in the area. It's hard for people to visualize," Moxley said. "I think people would support it if they could see it work."

He said the church already has seen a swelling of support for Trinity House, with people volunteering to redecorate the house and donate furniture for the four bedrooms and the common rooms.

"It's been a constant effort by people who don't want to see people who are the least of these leave life without anyone caring about them," Moxley said.

That leaves the church working toward its $200,000 goal, which would provide for a cook, a caregiver, food and other supplies needed for the house.

"The biggest need now is for funds for us to operate it properly," Moxley said. "That, added with volunteer efforts, will make it work."

For more information about Trinity House, contact the church at (614) 267-4539.