Manna House was founded over twenty years ago as a response to the need for transitional, supportive and safe recovery housing in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Our early years began with a a commitment to housing first principles, recognizing that for those suffering from the challenges of homelessness, substance abuse disorder and unstable living conditions, very little change was possible until the basic human needs of food, shelter and safety were met.
At least that’s our official story.
We’ve always know there was more than just a little providence and power greater than ourselves that aligned to make our little corner more than just a house or address to receive mail.
Following a series of reports by local news media in 1998, our founders came together to acquire the properties at 116 W. Walnut Street in Johnson City. Our first live-in house manager, the late Hugh L. White IV, was a disabled Vietnam Era veteran with two advanced degrees and a self-described “blue blood” determination that no person should be forced to live in an environment not supportive of his or her recovery or a home that failed to recognize their sacred human worth.
By the early 2000 Manna House expended to include our first annex, the John and Mary Jane Ripley House, through renovation of a six-bedroom bedroom small office building located in the parking lot of the original “main house.” In early 2018, we acquired a neighboring property and dedicated it as The Humphries House, creating a total program capacity of 40 beds which has grown to currently 75 beds within walking distance of Downtown Johnson City and nearby to the V.A. at Mountain Home and East Tennessee State University.
Our residents, affectionately called “Mannanites”, have arrived at Manna House with a variety of needs, histories, personalities and dreams. Some have moved in with with less than a few days sobriety only to leave years later with five year chips and and five year career plans. Multiple bachelors degrees have been cerebrated by fellow residents, several masters degrees and most recently one doctorate from ETSU. All of been surrounded with the love and support essential to reclaiming their lives.
Together we experience individuals and families healed, trauma addressed, personal triumph in overcoming addiction, residents finding good jobs and learning bad jokes—all with the many tears of joy and laughter you’d expect to find in any happy home.
To learn more about our story, click here.
Since we opened our doors in 1998, we’ve been asked many times why we dedicated our community as “Manna House.”
While the historically accurate answer is that our first residents played a large part in choosing the name from the Exodus story in the Old Testament, we later came to learn from a professor at the Emmanuel School of Religion that “manna” in Hebrew translates to the simple phrase “what is this?”
In the nearly twenty years we’ve been serving our brothers and sisters in recovery, we’ve come to see as sacred the many “what” questions we’ve encountered through countless small miracles and mysteries we see in the lives transformed in this special place.
Located at 212 N. Roan Street in beautiful, bustling and revitalized downtown Johnson City, the Manna House Thrift Store is a microenterprise program of Fairview Housing providing employment and training to Manna House program participants and affiliates who operate a thriving retail location filled with home goods, clothing, furniture, artwork, antiques and rare and affordable finds.
To learn more about the Manna House Thrift Store including hours, contact information and how to donate items:
Fairview Housing, Manna House and its employees have an ethical and legal obligation to respect the privacy of our clients, employees, donors, members, residents, and volunteers and to protect and maintain the confidentiality of all information that we learn about those individuals and agencies in the course of providing services to them.