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Friends of the Homeless Announce Plans for Jack’s House of Hope

Image of group at the groundbreaking ceremony for Jack's House of Hope.

The Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County conducted a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, May 16 to officially release plans for “Jack’s House of Hope” to be constructed immediately behind the current shelter for the unhoused at 211 East High Avenue in New Philadelphia. The new facility will honor Friends of the Homeless founder Jack Ream whose vision and leadership led to the creation of the organization in 2003. Ream is still a member of the Friends of the Homeless Board of Directors and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. Actual construction of the 20-thousand square foot facility is expected to begin in September.  The organization will soon seek bids for the building’s construction.   Joe Bachman is the project manager.  

“This is a momentous day for our community as we come together to better serve the unhoused and marginalized people of Tuscarawas County. As Jesus taught us, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ and so it is God’s work that we are doing here,” said Rev. Joe Svancara, Pastor of the New Philadelphia Presbyterian Church and President of the Friends of the Homeless Board of Directors.   The First Presbyterian Church gifted the current shelter building and the site for the new facility to the Friends of the Homeless, clearing the way for the organization to stay at its current location. “The gift of the property was a great blessing and allowed us to pursue construction at our current site which is the best possible location for the shelter and all the services we provide,” said Friends of the Homeless Executive Director Calvin White.

The new facility will be attached to the current shelter building and will include fourteen individual rooms for men, thirteen rooms for women, and four rooms for families. The building also includes a chapel, dining room, kitchen, offices, meeting rooms, community space for shelter guests, and an interior courtyard with a playground. “The building will allow us to better serve our guests with the privacy and dignity they deserve. Our goal is to serve the unhoused men, women, and families in our community by providing our guests with a safe, secure, and spirit enriching environment. The additional office and community space will also allow us to better provide our guests with services such as occupational therapy and counseling,” White added.

Joe Trepicone of Trepicone and Associates Architects of Dublin designed the building. “With the help and support of the Friends of the Homeless staff, I believe we will have a building that provides a home-like atmosphere for the guests while also providing the staff the space they need to provide the services to help and support the guests as they work toward finding permanent housing,” said Trepicone.    

The current shelter building is over 90 years old and no longer meets the needs of the guests. In Phase Two of the House of Hope project, the building will be renovated to house the Pathway to Wellness sober living program. The building currently housing Pathway to Wellness will be torn down to clear space for the new structure. The renovated original shelter will also provide additional office space and critically needed storage. 

The Friends of the Homeless is currently conducting a capital campaign to raise the money for construction of the new facility.   You can make a donation to the campaign by using the on-line form found on the Jack’s House of Hope page of this website.  

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