It took some time to get the residential services started. By the summer of 1978 staff had been hired with Dan Steiner as consultant and Drucilla Chupp as part-time secretary. In February 1980 the first house was purchased. It was located in the country east of Goshen on County road 34 and was named “Mennoheim” (Mennonite Home). Along with Project Promise, Mennoheim became the second program of MDC. Originally envisioned as a year round residential home, Mennoheim evolved in a short period into a respite care house with Dan and Vera Steiner providing the caregiving. By this time 50 congregations were providing some type of financial support to MDC, including Silverwood Mennonite Church which donated office space.
In the summer of 1984 Don Kauffman was employed as MDC administrator. Over 60 congregations were now involved with the ministry. He was replaced by Darrel Hostetler in September 1987.
While Mennoheim was greatly appreciated there was still a vision for providing permanent year round housing to developmentally disabled adults. In the summer of 1985 MDC formed a Long Term Residential Needs Committee to assess the ability of MDC to work with congregations to provide long term housing. The conclusion of this committee was to proceed with long term housing plans, and a Residential Facilities Committee was formed in the summer of 1986 to put those plans into effect. The program was named Merimna Homes, based on a Greek word “merimna” meaning “to care”.
In the fall of 1988 the property at 1514 College Ave. in Goshen was purchased. The following year this house was remodeled and named Pleasant Place. In addition the properties at 1518 and 1520 College Ave. became building sites for new homes. By the end of 1989 the house at 1518 was built and became the new location for Mennoheim Services, and 1520 was built and named Harmony House. The first caregiving staff for the long term homes was hired in August 1989 and the first residents moved into Pleasant Place in September.