In 1963, Johnny Zenoni, a prolific alcoholic, was arrested for DUI and found himself in a Columbia city jail. Behind bars, Zenoni finally found freedom, experiencing what he says was a life transforming visit from Jesus Christ. That night he kicked alcohol and made a promise to God to devote his life in service to Him.
Johnny “dried out” at a rehab facility in Ridgeway, SC, joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and made it his life mission to help men like himself reclaim their lives.
That year Providence Home was born on a farm in Lexington County with just eight men. From the start, Zenoni focused on Christ in ministering to men. Over the next couple of decades, Zenoni was forced to move Providence Home some two dozen times as area neighborhoods rejected the ministry.
By the mid-1980s, Providence Home had based its headquarters on North Main Street, Columbia, with shelters for both men and women. However, in June 1991, Providence Home became two legally separated entities. The men’s side retained the name Providence Home and the women’s home became The Women’s Shelter.
Today, Providence Home sits on that same North Main Street property but with new dorms accommodating 60 men, a dining hall, and a six-decade dream come true: our new chapel that was officially dedicated in April 2023.
60 years on from our founding, so much has changed since Johnny Zenoni met Jesus in that jail cell. But one thing that has remained unchanged is our commitment to Christ in our transitional ministry for men that promotes recovery from drugs, alcohol, and incarceration.