Friends of the Homeless strives to assist residents in breaking the cycle of homelessness, and that to do so, individuals and families need to be equipped with the life and employment skills necessary to survive and thrive in independent living.
In an effort to provide residents with the means to acquire these skills, Friends of the Homeless has created a system by which each individual and family’s needs are assessed through one-on-one case management. Residents are made aware of their mandatory groups, as determined for each case, and are provided with the opportunity to participate in a number of additional programs designed to provide education and personal enrichment.
Every program offered by Friends of the Homeless is free of charge, and while there are many that are listed, some may not be. Please feel free to contact the shelter at 330-602-6100 to learn more about what programs are currently being offered to our residents or how you can get involved with our programming.
Friends of the Homeless does not operate like many other homeless shelters; residents do not come in for a night, only to be kicked out the next morning with no guarantee of a bed when they return. Upon entering the shelter, residents are required to meet with a case manager to complete an intake packet, which includes some medical history and a background check. Because we house families, we are unable to bring in those with a history of violent or sexual crimes or arson. Residents are entered into a 90-day program, with the possibility of extensions as needed.
Once moved in, residents meet with a case manager on a regular basis to determine what services they are in need of for their individual situations. Participation in groups, as well as job searching and appointments with service agencies, are laid out in each case plan, as well as an exit strategy. The goal of case management at the shelter is not how to provide our residents with the minimum to survive, but to assist them in attaining stable housing and lives so they can leave the shelter to become active members of the community.
Pathway to Wellness Program
Pathway to Wellness is a program administered by Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County for the purpose of providing a safe, supervised living environment for men who are receiving outpatient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. The living quarters are housed at 119 2nd St. NE, in New Philadelphia, Ohio. The program is limited in size to five men at the present time.
The Recovery Home will provide a safe, alcohol and drug free environment in which the men can live for as long as necessary for up to a year. The program is under the leadership of the Director of the Homeless Shelter who holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development and who has over twenty years of professional experience in the field of social work, mental health counseling, addiction counseling and corrections.
Service and Distance Learning Cooperatives
-Stark State College
During the fall and spring semesters, Friends of the Homeless has partnered with Stark State College to offer students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program the opportunity to work with our residents in a hands-on learning environment. All students are supervised by their staff advisors, who are licensed occupational therapists. Level One students meet once a week the entire semester, whereas Level Two students work at the shelter 40 hours a week for eight weeks in teams of two, cycling through teams. These students offer our residents life and employment skills classes, touching on parenting, stress-management, budgeting, self-image, social skills, and other relevant topics. These groups are offered multiple times a day, which provides our residents with the opportunity to learn these invaluable skills and still fulfill other appointments and duties required of them by the shelter.
-Kent State University
Friends of the Homeless also collaborates with the Service Learning Program at Kent State University at Tuscarawas to provide students with a hands-on experience at the shelter. Students volunteer at the shelter two hours a week for ten weeks, participating in various volunteer roles and interacting with the residents. These students in turn create a presentation for their class on their experiences in the shelter and what they have gained from working with the homeless population.
In addition to our college collaborations, Friends of the Homeless works with many other groups, such as the Ohio State Extension office and the New Philadelphia High School Key Club. OSU Extension comes into the shelter several times a year and gives a one hour class on healthy eating habits and selecting healthy foods. On a monthly basis, NPHS Key Club comes in to celebrate resident’s birthdays for the month. While the majority of our programming is focused on teaching life and job skills, we do recognize the need for our residents to be a part of leisure activities that are found in everyday life, even things as simple as celebrating a birthday.
There have been many other youth and school groups involved with the shelter over the years, and if you are interested in learning more about which groups are currently active or getting your own class or students involved, please call the shelter at 330-602-6100.
Support Groups and Required Groups
-The Compass Center
The Compass Center facilitates two groups that shelter and Pathway residents are highly encouraged to participate in. While both are held off-site, they are within a short walking distance from the shelter. Jobs for Life is a structured, eight-week course that focuses on teaching skills necessary for any individual to gain stable employment, such as interview skills and developing a proper work ethic. Character First is a round table discussion that focuses on developing positive character traits, such as integrity, accountability, and strength. (Character First is offered on-site for Pathway participants only)
Because sexual assault, domestic violence, and abusive relationships are a sad reality for many of ourresidents, COMPASS Rape Crisis Center leads two healthy relationships groups for the residents during the summer, one for women and one for men.
-Community Mental Health
To help any residents that are struggling with or have been impacted by alcohol or substance abuse, Community Mental Health leads a Drug and Alcohol Awareness group at the shelter.
In addition to the Drug and Alcohol Awareness group, the shelter hosts weekly Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups that are open to the community. AA is held Thursdays at 12pm; NA is held Saturdays at 12pm.
In keeping with our mission to provide services in a faith-based environment, Friends of the Homeless hosts several on-site Bible studies and spiritual enrichment groups throughout the week at both the shelter and recovery house.