NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (December 12, 2022) – Friends of the Homeless representatives say they anticipate a New Philadelphia zoning board is going to turn down another proposal to build a new shelter in the city, so they are going bring their case to tonight’s City Council meeting.
Friends of the Homeless had planned to ask the city’s board of zoning appeals to grant them a variance build a new shelter on 3.5 acres of land on Beaver Avenue Northeast behind Faith Christian Church.
However, officials told them only Council could change the city’s zoning to allow a homeless shelter at that location.
Shelter Director Calvin White was on WJER with Kelly Kyle Monday afternoon. He says the current shelter on East High Avenue is in deplorable condition and not suited for a shelter.
White says a location near downtown New Philadelphia is essential so residents can walk to the government buildings that house the services they need.
So far, city officials have not been receptive to keeping the shelter in New Philadelphia. They shot down a proposal for a new shelter on South Broadway and recommended six other locations. Five of them are in Dover.
White says he doesn’t understand why getting the city’s support has been a challenge.
“From my perspective, it shouldn’t be,” he said. “I mean, the services that we provide, the people that benefit from coming to the shelter, the community support. We have the support of 64 churches in the county, and a lot of individuals, organizations, institutions.”
Friends of the Homeless have an online petition at change.org that so far has 923 signatures in support of keeping the shelter in New Philadelphia.