history

Providence Home was founded by John Zenoni, a reformed alcoholic, who in 1957 was arrested and woke up in jail for driving under the influence.  That day he decided to entrust the rest of his life to God.  He went to dry out at a rehabilitation center in Ridgeway, SC and joined Alcoholics Anonymous where he began to work with other alcoholics.   In 1963, John Zenoni started Providence Home at his own expense on a farm near Columbia, SC, and took in eight alcoholics.  He said his faith in God and his desire to change led him to his work at Providence Home.  He poured his life into Providence Home and imbued it with his love and faith. 



From humble beginnings of a few beds for alcoholics to lay their heads and receive some counseling in an atmosphere of love, Providence Home’s program expanded over the years to include a home for women in 1971, a small farm and home in Lexington County, a chapel and a community outreach program.   Nearly 25 years later, Providence Home had grown from one house to four, with shelters for both men and women.  The headquarters and three shelters were located on North Main Street.  The Christian ministry service organization was dedicated to helping the poor and needy from all walks of life with problems that included alcoholism, drug addiction and homelessness. 


The men and women’s services of Providence Home became two legally separate entities in June 1991.  The men’s side retained the name Providence Home, while the women’s name became The Women’s Shelter.  New boards were formed for each. John Zenoni retired as Executive Director of Providence Home six months after the separation on January 1, 1992 and was appointed Executive Director Emeritus. John had firmly established the Providence Home complex at the North Main Street site before his retirement.  Barry Collins became the Executive Director following John Zenoni's reitrement. Steve Wilson became Interim Director, and Reggie Alexander, Assistant Director, held the program together without any major hitches immediately following Barry Collins death in 1995.  Michael Underwood joined the ministry as a part-time Chaplain in February 1996.  This added a new dimension to the service program.  Residents, with certain skills were used to assist in areas such as food preparation, maintenance work, reception/clerical work and security and safety functions.In March 1997, the board implemented a team-oriented management concept.  Steve Wilson was appointed Director of Operations and Michael Underwood, who came on full time, was appointed Program Director/Chaplain.   

​In 2004, Ken Ritchie became Executive Director of Providence Home.  He served for nine years as administrator, counselor, mentor and friend of the men who entered the doors of Providence Home until his retirement.  Jimmy Braddock joined Ken in October 2011 as Director of Operations. In October 2013, the Providence Home Board of Directors appointed Rob Settle as the ministry’s new Executive Director, following Ken's retirement.  Rob’s 30 years of ministry and administrative experience and his shepherd’s heart are being greatly utilized at Providence Home. As Providence Home continues to move forward, the mission remains the same: To help stabilize the living conditions of dislocated men and to encourage progress in realizing their full personal potential in self-sufficient living through the power of Jesus Christ.