Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County is located at 211 East High Ave, New Philadelphia, Ohio.
Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County was established in response to one of the least talked about problems faced by many individuals and families in the area- homelessness. With a simple mission- to assist individuals and families in a faith-based environment to attain stability and permanent housing- Friends of the Homeless not only provides emergency shelter to those experiencing homelessness and displacement, but also strives to provide them with the tools and services they need to find and retain employment and stable housing. Our shelter is one-of-a-kind, both in the number of programs and services we offer, and the scope of these programs. Not only do we link residents with appropriate service agencies, we also offer on-site life- and employment-skills programs, support groups, and spiritual enrichment and Bible studies. We believe in giving a hand-up, not a hand-out, and in following with this, we work with our residents only as far as they are willing to work for themselves.
In an effort to keep our living facility safe, sober, and secure, we do perform a background check on residents before bringing them into the program. As a faith-based and family-friendly shelter, it is our duty to assure our residents, be they individuals or families, of their safety while they call this shelter home. We do not allow drugs or alcohol on the premises and perform random drug and alcohol screens upon intake and as needed. But we do realize that substance abuse is a very real issue that should not hinder people from benefiting from our services, so we ask all residents who may be struggling to disclose this upon intake so that we can help them find the appropriate agencies. Once the intake assessment is completed, residents are enrolled in a 90-day program, where they are required to work with a case manager to develop a success plan and then work through it to attain stable housing. While at the shelter, residents are expected to contribute to the maintenance of the shelter, through daily chores, assistance with projects, and attendance at weekly house meetings.
In addition to operating the area’s only emergency homeless shelter, Friends of the Homeless also manages the Pathway to Wellness Recovery House. Based in a separate facility, this program serves men who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction as they work to build a life of sobriety. With many of the same communal requirements as the shelter, Pathway operates under a structured program that lasts from six months to one year, with various levels of community reintegration.
Friends of the Homeless addresses the very real, but mostly unseen, issue of homelessness in Tuscarawas and surrounding counties not by treating it as shameful condition, but by affording people the respect and dignity they deserve and giving a hand-up when it’s needed.
Founded in 2005, Friends of the Homeless is currently the area’s only homeless shelter. Since first opening its doors, the shelter has undergone a number of changes as it strives to meet the needs of the local homeless population. From expanding staff to providing a wide-range of self-improvement opportunities, Friends of the Homeless has provided over 100,000 bed nights to those in need.
The group is run by a volunteer Board of Directors chaired by Anita Davis of Dover. Ethan Urfer serves as Vice President. Jackie Somers is the secretary. Meetings are held at McInturf Realty on the fourth Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
The organization’s lifeblood is volunteers. Do you have a talent to share? Take the time to reach out and see how you can help keep the lights on at the shelter and Pathway to Wellness this year. A few hours a week can help lighten the load for the staff and provide a better place for those who need services to stay.