Marlene vonFriederich-Fitzwater is opening a hospice for homeless people in memory of her grandson called Joshua’s House.
Her grandson was homeless.
“I originally became aware of the fact that people with cancer, heart disease, and AIDS and any number of serious illnesses had to nowhere to go,” vonFriederich-Fitzwater said. “In 2014 I had a 34-year-old grandson that I was very very close to who struggled with homelessness and drug addiction and died in Nebraska that was it.”
She met with homeless people to figure out what she wanted to incorporate the Joshua’s House.
“I did the focus groups,” vonFriederich-Fitzwater said. “Five different focus groups and interviewed 120 one-on-one just about what they thought their needs would be.”
The hospice will open next year in 2018. There will be between 16 to 20 bedrooms. It will allow people to bring pets and there will be art and music therapy available.
“They designed it with water walls and greenery walls and indoor gardens to bring nature in,” vonFriederich-Fitzwater said. “It’s essentially like a board and care. The local hospitals have signed on to deliver hospice care to the people they discharge here and then we provide everything else. The meals, the clothes, the support, the companionship.”
She’s been working on this project since her grandson passed away several years ago.
“I really feel like he’s guiding me and opening doors and connecting me to the right people,” vonFriederich-Fitzwater said. “I would hope he would be happy and pleased which I think he would but I really hope he would be.”