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.
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.
Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County is an organization which is headed by an executive director of the program, but overseen by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is an advisory board charged with providing support to the programs which make up our organization. The make up of the board consists of an executive committee, made up of officer positions: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Non-executive board members make up committees responsible for providing support for the shelter’s daily operations: Fundraising, Finance, Membership, Planning, and Site. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of every month at 6:00pm at the First Presbyterian Church of New Philadelphia (217 E High Ave, New Philadelphia, OH 44663).
We are always looking for members of the community who are wanting to take an active part in our organization! You may apply for board membership by filling out the following application, and submitting it by email to [email protected].